This article is all about the aftermath of the infamous snowden leaks about the NSA violating personal privacy, using the USA Patriot act as precedent. The leaks, as one might expect, created a major roadblock for the NSA surveillance programs to proactively defend against terrorism. The damage to the program was so great that a good deal of funding for the NSA had to be diverted to do an official assessment of the damage the leaks have done. The issue at hand is that now that terrorists know the NSA is monitoring them, will they now move on to more covert and harder to detect methods of communication, thereby perhaps compromising our security. The article also suggests that having to switch to sneakier methods could slow down terrorists significantly, rendering them impotent, they used the example of Osama Bin Laden switching from satellite phone to courier to explain this. Another result of the leaks is newly implemented security restrictions to limit the probability of another leak.
Having always been an avid supporter of personal liberty, I believe that the NSA needs to shut down its surveillance operation. I am not one to ignore national security as it is one of the four purposes of government, but social contract theory also clearly states the necessity of basic liberties, one of which being protection from unreasonable search and seizure as guaranteed in the fourth amendment to the constitution and as confirmed by the supreme court case Mapp v. Ohio, which ironically dealt with police wire taps on phones. Sure some terrorists may be caught or slowed down as a result of the NSA, but any organized terrorist group capable of doing any real damage is likely already operating under the utmost secrecy. While one may point to the somewhat frequent attacks in the past few years as reason to continue NSA surveillance, one must recall that almost unanimously these major attacks were the work of mentally unstable individuals who worked alone. In the face of a clear and present danger such as the September 11 attacks in New York city, I condone and willingly sacrifice my liberty as a price of security, however, that was twelve years ago, I think it is safe to say the clear and present danger has passed.