Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU has a commentary on the Guardian. Here’s an excerpt:
In today’s New York Times, Charlie Savage reports that the administration has come to the belated realization that its intelligence interests can be accommodated without placing hundreds of millions of people under permanent surveillance. This is to the good, of course. But if the administration is right that the dragnet was unnecessary, we should ask how all three branches of government got it so wrong.
The answer, in a word, is secrecy. When intelligence officials proposed the dragnet, there was no one on the other side to explain that the government’s goals could be achieved with less-intrusive means. There was no one there to mention that the law the government was invoking couldn’t lawfully be used to collect call-records. There was no one there to mention that the bulk collection of call records was unconstitutional.
Instead, there was an entirely one-sided system in which government attorneys presented the supposed interests of the intelligence community in the most expansive way possible, and the judges of a poorly resourced court tried unsuccessfully, and sometimes halfheartedly, to imagine what ordinary citizens might say in response.
Read more on The Guardian.