A series of decisions, made more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, still shape the world we live in today:

In the end, perhaps inevitably, Bush would disappoint Cheney, bowing, in the steely unforgiving view of the older man, to the shoddy demands of politics and the fear of “negative press stories.” As Cheney describes the end of the Stellar Wind confrontation in his memoirs, one can almost hear the condescending disappointment in the former vice-president’s voice:

“Faced with threats of resignation, the president decided to alter the NSA program, even though he and his advisors were confident of his constitutional authority to continue the program unchanged.”