“Yes, we have been lucky,” House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) said Thursday, “but luck is not an effective strategy for fighting terrorism.”

Whatever the merits of their argument — and, where terrorism is concerned, it is prudent to keep cockiness at bay — there is a political imperative at work as well. “Democrats are always suspect on national security, and anything that makes them look weak on national security creates an opportunity for Republicans,” said Whit Ayres, a GOP pollster…

“How many times can we count on our enemies’ incompetence?” said Rep. Mike Rogers (Mich.), a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee. Rogers contended that the intelligence agencies have curtailed some crucial information-gathering activities of overseas CIA officers, although he declined to specify which, saying it was classified.

In mid-April, The Washington Post reported that the National Security Agency had stopped collecting certain types of electronic data — including origins, destinations and paths of e-mail, and the phone numbers called from particular telephones — from U.S. citizens suspected of working with terrorists.