Excerpted from [link=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10561966/]this[/link] Howard Fineman column: WASHINGTON - In the first weeks and months after 9/11, I am told by a very good source, there was a lot of wishing out loud in the White House Situation Room about expanding the National Security Agency?s ability to instantly monitor phone calls and e-mails between American callers and possible terror suspects abroad. ?We talked a lot about how useful that would be,? said this source, who was ?in the room? in the critical period after the attacks. Well, as the world now knows, the NSA ? at the prompting of Vice President Cheney and on official (secret) orders from President Bush ? was doing just that. And yet, as I understand it, many of the people in the White House?s own Situation Room ? including leaders of the national security adviser?s top staff and officials of the FBI ? had no idea that it was happening. Which presents the disturbing image of the White House as a series of nesting dolls, with Cheney-Bush at the tiny secret center, sifting information that most of the rest of the people around them didn?t even know existed. And that image, in turn, will dominate and define the year 2006 ? and, I predict, make it the angriest, most divisive season of political theater since the days of Richard Nixon. We are entering a dark time in which the central argument advanced by each party is going to involve accusing the other party of committing what amounts to treason. Democrats will accuse the Bush administration of destroying the Constitution; Republicans will accuse the Dems of destroying our security. I suspect most people agree that the question of domestic spying and its justification (among other things related to it) will continue to exist and possibly grow in 2006. Could he possibly be forced to fend off calls either for impeachment or his presence before congressional hearings on the matter? It's unlikely, but if the Democrats were to recapture one or both houses of Congress in 2006, that would change the political calculus a great deal. To me, that would almost guarantee that we would see congressional hearings on the Iraq war, the war on terror and everything related to it. Looking at the larger picture, just what does Bush and his administration realistically face next year? We're in dark political times already, but as Fineman said, I think it's about to get considerably darker. There seems to be heavy ammunition for both sides to use, and a captive audience on at least some of the issues. Thoughts?