In a must-read There appears to be more here than simply a tendency of Bush’s to hang around with a bad group of kids. Bush himself has long displayed an equally dismissive view of the law, claiming the right to violate federal law when he considers it to be in the nation’s interest.

As these shadowy figures multiply, you can understand why civil libertarians increasingly see the White House like a gathering at Tony Soprano’s Bada Bing! club In Soprano’s world, you cannot become a ‘made man’ unless you first earn your bones by ‘doing’ some guy or showing blind loyalty. Only when you have proven unquestioning loyalty does Tony ‘open the books’ for a new guy.

Hayden earned his bones by implementing the NSA operation despite clear federal law declaring such surveillance to be a criminal act. He can now join the rest of the made men of the Bush administration.

Funny how in last week’s Sopranos an angry Tony referred to Paulie Walnuts by the now infamous phrase: “You’re Doing a Heckuva job, Brownie.”