The Wednesday briefing, on the eve of General Hayden's confirmation hearings, did nothing to calm some of those who were let in to the briefing club. Even Hayden himself wouldn't back it:
"Sir," he said steadily, "it was not my decision. I briefed fully whatever audience was in front of me, and I wouldn't attempt to explain the administration's decision."Until the Olympia Snowes and Arlen Specters of the world actually do something about this, like, gee, I don't know, VOTE AGAINST THE NOMINEE WHO HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE SECRET AND HIGHLY SUSPECT PROGRAMS FOR WHICH YOU HAVE NO INFORMATION, then I really have no time for any of this useless public posturing. She'll most certainly be voting for him, won't you Ms. Snowe? Why don't you take a stand against the utter contempt that you've been shown? What are you people made of?
That did not appear to satisfy Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Republican of Maine. Earlier in the day she had complained that the small number of lawmakers who were briefed before Wednesday were "handcuffed" because they were not permitted to share information with colleagues.
"The notification to a very limited group — they could do nothing much with that information, essentially — is not the kind of checks and balances that I think our founding fathers had in mind," Ms. Snowe said.