Edward Snowden and his decision to speak out as the leaker of classified national security documents have deflected attention from President Obama. The political odd couples defending and opposing the programs also insulate the president.
Two US surveillance programs – one scooping up records of Americans' phone calls and the other collecting information on Internet-based activities – came to public attention this week. The aim: data-mining to help the NSA thwart terrorism. But not everyone is cool with it.
House and Senate intelligence committees will ask that question of FBI officials during closed hearings Tuesday about the Boston Marathon bombing. They will want to know if any red flags popped up when Tamerlan Tsarnaev traveled to Russia in 2011-12.
Just days after the Boston Marathon bombing, the political maneuvering and blaming have begun. Some lawmakers fault the FBI for not following up on intelligence about one of the alleged bombers. Others want to prosecute the surviving suspect as an enemy combatant.
"We will find out who did this. We'll find out why they did this," President Obama said in his brief statement after the Boston bombing. "Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice."