Quote of the Day
“From what we know so far about these N.S.A. programs—and that is a caveat that should condition virtually every statement and judgment about them, including those you are now reading—they have been conducted lawfully. The threat that they pose to civil liberties, such as it is, is abstract, conjectural, unspecified. In the roughly seven years the programs have been in place in roughly their present form, no citizen’s freedom of speech, expression, or association has been abridged by them in any identifiable way. No political critic of the Administration has been harassed or blackmailed as a consequence of them. They have not put the lives of tens of millions of Americans under 'surveillance' as that word is commonly understood. ...
”The N.S.A. programs represent a troubling increase in state power, even if—so far, and so far as we know—they have not occasioned a troubling increase in state wrongdoing. ... Are the programs truly efficacious? Do they truly provide an extra margin of safety sufficient to justify the resources poured into them, to say nothing of the domestic and international anxieties they inevitably provoke? Is it wise to entrust so many of their activities to the employees of private companies, which are ultimately answerable not to the United States and its Constitution but to corporate stockholders? Did it make sense to construct an intelligence behemoth that apparently cannot operate without giving an enormous number of people—more than a million—top-secret security clearances? And in what ways, exactly, might an ill-intentioned yet formally law-abiding Administration use its powers for nefarious purposes?“
-- Hendrik Hertzberg, ”Snoop Scoops," in The New Yorker. Worth reading the entire thing.