I did a post this morning confessing to a certain ambivalence about leaks and leakers. Then on the way back from lunch, I heard Rush Limbaugh also express mixed feelings. He had a different spin, though:
An unprecedented amount of data collected on average, ordinary, every day Americans and everybody else. And as I say, it matters who the people are who are collecting the data.
This is where the ideology of leadership comes into play. It matters, folks. The people collecting the data, it matters who they think are the nation's biggest enemies. If they happen to believe the biggest enemies are their political opponents domestically, then they have access to a lot of data about them.
I guess what he's saying is that if good guys are in office, the spying doesn't matter because it won't be misued. If bad guys are in office, they'll do bad things with it.
Don't know how far down that road I'd go. If something can be done, it will be done, available as a tool to whoever is in office. Then we have to trust our fate to the competence and good will of anybody who comes along, and we know from history that not all of them will be deserving of that trust.
That's why the founders assumed -- wisely and correctly -- that power would tend to accumulate and concentrate and that once amassed would corrupt because more and more power will be needed just to keep the existing power at the same level. So they built ways to diffuse that power into the system.