It's with a convenient indignation that the New York Times goes after Bush for something they would have you believe is illegal. The dishonesty of the Times calling this new or as they put it "a sea change" is shameful. Was the NY Times brain dead when they published this article about Bob Barr and other republicans trying to make this very practice accountable to congress? In 1999? When Bill Clinton was in the White House?
Since the Times can't seem to do any research on their own, I'd like to juxtapose two articles. The opening of the Times article and a section from the (now archived) Catching Americans in NSA's Net by the Baltimore Sun, published ten years prior.
New York Times
December 15, 2005
Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.
The Baltimore Sun
December 12, 1995
...the basic rules set by Executive Order 12333, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and a few court decisions are as follows: NSA can intercept any communication -- phone call, fax, electronic mail, etc. -- as long as at least one end is in a foreign country.