What do you get when the President of the United States, rather than take a stand and act as a leader, decides to try to "balance" everything by pretending to promise
to end the Section 215 bulk metadata collection, while promising to "retain its capabilities"? And then, after announcing that non-plan, tossing it over to the Attorney General and Congress to sort out the details? Yeah, you get a whole lot of nothing. And, folks in the intelligence community are basically saying that nothing's going to change
because what he's suggesting isn't really possible.
“The idea that this complicated problem will be solved in the next two months is very unlikely, if not impossible,” said one official with knowledge of the discussions. “It is not at all inconceivable that the bulk collection program will stay the same, with the records held by the government until 2015,” when the law that authorizes the bulk collection is set to expire.
And, of course, many assume this was the plan all along. Say that they're ending the program while promising to keep the capabilities, then punt the issue to others to work out, and you pretty much guarantee the status quo for quite some time. Perhaps permanently. This wasn't leadership, this was passing the buck. And that's why most of the intelligence community seems perfectly happy with the result.