Here's one thing I'm a bit unclear on in this NSA domestic spying story. From reading the original article in the Times, the prime rationale for this program appears to have been to avoid the time and bureaucratic hurdles involved in getting warrants.
In the abstract, there sounds like there might be some merit in that argument, especially considering the importance of speed in counter-terrorism work.
The problem is that the FISA Court -- the secret court set up to handle just such warrant requests -- is designed for speed. And it is known for being extremely indulgent of government applications for warrants. I thought I remembered that at one point at least the FISA Court had never rejected a government request for a warrant, but I may remember that wrong or, if once right, it may no longer be the case.
All of this, of course, is separate from the issue of the president overruling a federal statute by executive order -- something that by definition a president cannot do. But something seems fishy about the rationale itself.