This report actually originates with the New York Times, but I like to link to the WaPo because they have this nifty little thing that links back to your blog when you link to one of their stories.
In any case, they are reporting that Bush broke the law. Not "may have broken" or "allegedly broke" or any of that happy crappy. Bush told the NSA to spy on Americans without a warrant. There are laws against that and while there are some grey areas, they aren't big enough to fit this conduct into.
We are about to witness, of course, the very counterfactual contortions to which I alluded in the Froomkin piece I wrote for DU the other day. It won't do to cover this story straight, because there really is no "other side." The United States has laws. Bush broke them. There's not really much else to it.
But of course it won't do in modern journalism to cover the story this way. We must be objective, by which we mean of course ignoring objective reality and bringing you the subjective interpretations of "both sides." If there aren't two sides, you have to invent one.
We can't say for certain what form that will take, but I have a guess. Debate in the dailies and on the weekly screaming head shows will focus on whether or not it was a good idea, in a broad sense, for the NSA to have the right to spy on Americans. Republicans will no doubt argue that in the "War on Terror" law enforcement needs new expanded powers and blah blah blah.
Of course, all of this GOP blather will be completely irrelevant. If the president feels he needs to do something that is currently against the law, his recourse is to have the law changed. This avenue is particularly open to a president whose party controls both houses of Congress AND is enjoying, as Bush was at the time, the more or less blind support of nine-tenths of the electorate. Indeed, much about US law enforcement WAS changed back then, by a piece of legislation called the PATRIOT Act, which is currently up for extension in the Senate.
Put differently, it's fine to have a debate about whether the president ought to be able to order warrantless wiretaps of American citizens, or whether he ought to be able to authorize torture, or whether he ought to be able to call Dominoes in a disguised voice and order a hundred pizzas to be delivered to Ted Kennedy's house.
We can talk about any and all of those things. But we have to have the conversation before the president does it. If there's a law, and someone breaks it, there's no conversation to be had at that point about the prudence of the law. It's a crime. Period.
And unfortunately for the GOP (and, even more unfortunately, for the sanity of the discourse), there's no way to cover that in a balanced way. Bush is a criminal. You can count on journalists like Dan Froomkin to tell you that, and to call others to account for trying to obscure it. That's why you won't find his work in any major print daily.