Actually the number one function of the FEDERAL government is to protect our freedoms. The idea that national security trumps this most important of all government functions is precisely why we find ourselves where we do today, on the verge of belonging to a totalitarian state.
The premise seems to be that to protect ourselves from the tyranny of Sharia based extremist we need to empower our government with the ability monitor our every action, hoping that they will not abuse such power. History has shown and is now repeating itself in showing that government power will always grow to the detriment and ultimate destruction of individual liberty unless kept in check.
This is precisely why our nation was founded in the first place, to insure that government would not have such power over WE THE PEOPLE. If those, such as yourself, who believe in individual liberty are justifying the growth of government powers to monitor citizens as a means to protect us from outside threats you are in effect just transferring the threat liberty faces from the external to the internal.
I would much rather fight the enemy of freedom from without than from within. Your belief structure, with all good intentions, is sowing the seeds to the destruction of that which you love.
In Response to Ann Althouse post at Ann Althouse-"Thank You for Data-Mining: The NSA's 'metadata' surveillance is legal and necessary."
What if this data mining uncovers patterns that reveal criminal activity, such as a drug ring? Will the FBI who must by law be the agency requesting the "wire tapping" ignore it since it does not involve national security? If they do use the information to go after the criminal enterprise, is that a violation of their rights? Will anyone even know that their rights were violated?
Or what if DHS under the Obama or other such ideological bent Administration, puts "right wing" Tea Party groups on some sort of "terrorist watch list" will their phone records find their way into some algorithm which allows special scrutiny? And once these phone records have been "targeted" for special monitoring will their contents be protected from abuse by political entities?
Nah, never happen. A climate of political abuse based on personal information obtained by Federal Agencies is simply paranoia....right?