From Howard Kurtz:
Are the Bushies backing off their big surveillance program? Sure sounds like it from this Wall Street Journal piece:
"The Bush administration is trying to calm fears that a planned Pentagon program to comb through large quantities of citizens' personal information will erode civil liberties.
"The Total Information Awareness program has been blasted by advocacy groups and in the media as a potentially serious invasion of privacy. Pentagon officials argue that the pilot program, which has yet to be put into operation, could be a useful tool in the war on terrorism.
"Edward 'Pete' Aldridge, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, said yesterday the program is still being tested and that criticisms of it are premature. . . .
"The selection of retired Rear Adm. John Poindexter to lead the project also has stirred criticism. Mr. Poindexter was convicted on five felony counts, including lying to Congress, in the wake of the Iran-Contra scandal. Though his convictions were overturned on appeal, choosing him for such a sensitive project has fueled critics' concerns."
Why on earth would they pick a lightning rod like Poindexter?