The article from the Times makes very few assertions concerning the Administration's case for allowing the NSA to spy on American citizens. One of those assertionns is that the AUMF, the Authorization to Use Military Force (passed after the September 11 attacks), authorizes the Administration's actions. The study done by the Congressional Research Service (Page 33) and released on January 5th has already “done the smackdown” on this assertion.
In general, I've always distrusted articles that purport to take an objective, even-handed view of anything. I've always found articles that took a clear, straightforward, partisan view to be more trustworthy. That way, I don't have to guess at motivations and agendas, I know that the author is trying his or her best to make a particular case. I feel towards these the way I feel about the downtown Philly vegetarian restaurant that serves courses that are made up to look like meat. The heck with that! Gimme the green beans! Give me something that looks like a vegetable, not something that tries to look like a meat.
(The restaurant makes a very good plate of green beans, btw. They sautee the beans with chopped garlic. Yum!)