On President Obama's Spy Agency Policy

Thus far, Barack Obama has seemed impervious to blame in the NSA scandal. The president and his spokespeople took refuge behind the same old mantras: Everybody spies on everybody else; we had to use every weapon in our arsenal in the war on terror, and that government spying had saved lives—not just American lives but those of America's allies as well.

Then came confusion over what Obama knew, when he knew it, what he said and what he ordered done. One might call it the arrogance of disinformation or perhaps the hubris of supposed omnipotence to stand above everyone and give directions if worst comes to worst. But the first cracks are now beginning to appear due to increasing pressure, such as Senator Diane Feinstein who supports the NSA in the Edward Snowden matter and who now is directing hostile fire toward it in Congress. Perhaps it is beginning to dawn on the White House strategists that the president, being drawn ever deeper into the NSA mess, stands to lose: He could lose allies he may desperately need in some coming war, or as commander-in-chief he could be seen as having no clue as to what his military intelligence is up to. Neither outcome sounds much like a win-win situation.