Okay, so not only was John Brennan not the source of the leaks about the Yemeni attempt to bring down an airplane last year, but an ex-FBI agent interested in child pornography was the source. Not only that, but all the controversy that attended the revelation that the FBI had grabbed the logs on 20 Associated Press phone lines is now complicated by the fact that it actually enabled them to identify the source of the leaks.

Of course, Eric Holder already issued revised guidelines for snooping on reporters back in July. I’m not sure if they could have cracked this case under the current rules.

But, then, we can’t just say that the government should be able to do whatever it wants as long as it works, can we?

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com