There’s a lot of information there that will get sorted through, like the indication of databases kept by the government for the purposes of data-mining green card holders (and American citizens?). But the ultimate fight between the Hill and the FBI, or perhaps the GOP and the White House, will hinge on how and why the FBI decided to conclude from their searches that Tamerlan wasn’t connected to international terrorism.

Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Patriot Act, in order to unlock powerful surveillance and investigative tools the FBI must show probable cause that an individual is engaged in international terrorist acts on behalf of a terrorist group. The foreign government seemed to believe that Tamerlan was. Did they supply sufficient evidence for the FBI to meet a FISA court judge’s standard of probable cause? Was the FBI going the extra mile to meet the probable cause test?…

The classic example, experts say, of operating internationally is training in an al Qaeda camp in the Pakistani hinterlands. To be sure, to get a FISA warrant the standard is higher for American citizens and green card holders (like Tamerlan)–the FBI has to show the suspect is knowingly engaging in international terrorism or preparing for it on behalf of a terrorist group. If the suspect isn’t a citizen or green card holder, then you just have to show the suspect is a member of terrorist group.