"The administration has obviously gotten the message that they need to be more forthcoming," Snowe said.
Consider this story a pre-pre-trial balloon. The public reaction will determine the outcome of events. Unless people are really freaking mad that they aren't going to have a hearing, whats going to happen is as follows:
1. There will be no hearing.
2. The ACLU will continue to be painted as a crazy group that hates America. (Which isn't so easy to do to a Republican controlled Congressional committee.)
3. The ACLU's lawsuit will be rendered moot by new legislation.
4. The new legislation will mostly strike FISA, enabling warrentless domestic surveillance for "national security" purposes. It will be renewed forever.
5. No questions about the legality of Bush's program will be brought to a serious forum.
6. Dems will raise the issue politically and get tarred as "pro-terrorist."
7. Big red wins in 2006 and 2008.
8. The NSA will be doing what the paranoids thought they were doing 10 years ago.
9. Everyone will use encryption when they move to VOIP.
10. There will be a renewed push for key escrow about 10 years from now.
Oh, and yeah, hackers will be considered a "national security" issue. So will a number of unfavored political groups.
Congressional Probe of NSA Spying Is in Doubt