I don't know who the idiot was who first thought "Collect IT All" was a good idea, but the ABSOLUTE TRUTH is absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. The NSA has collected information about the communications of millions of Americans and put them at risk of blackmail. The NSA doesn't deny that. NSA LIAR-in-chief CLAPPER let slip the truth regarding Manning and Snowden, that he can't guarantee the same thing won't happen again. And if a future whistleblower could gain access to the most sensitive data, so could a BLACKMAILER. So could a foreign spy. Hanson, Ames...
The truth is our privacy - our FREEDOM - is like blood in the water to a ravenous shark circling in the dark waters.
In the good ol' days the NSA had the means to spy remotely on the LANDLINES of targeted foreign sources. Its mission was to protect the security of U.S. communications and eavesdrop on the communications of our enemies. Blame it on the rise of cellphones and the quantum jump in emails and other digital communications that overwhelmed the NSA targeting capability. Something had to change to keep up. Solution: COLLECT IT ALL. But at what cost to US? The NSA prioritizes intelligence gathering over security, and that's increasingly putting us all at risk. It's time we thought about breaking up the NSA, make it No Such Agency.
Replace Collect IT All With Targeted surveillance: NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group, including its catalog of hardware and software "implants" designed to be surreptitiously installed onto the enemy's computers. This sort of thing represents the best of the NSA and is exactly what we want it to do. TAO and its targeted surveillance mission should be moved under the control of U.S. Cyber Command, and Cyber Command should be completely separated from the NSA. Actively attacking enemy networks is an offensive military operation, and should be part of an offensive military unit.
What About US? The FBI is charged with counterterrorism in the United States, and it needs to play that role. Any operations focused against U.S. citizens need to be subject to U.S. law, and the FBI is the best place to apply that law. That the NSA can, in the view of many, do an end-run around congressional oversight, legal due process and domestic laws is an affront to our Constitution and a danger to our society. The NSA's mission should be focused outside the United States -- for real, not just for show.
Collecting data on innocent Americans either incidentally or deliberately, and data on INNOCENT foreign citizens indiscriminately doesn't make us any safer. If you think the NSA Collect IT All is going to go quietly, think again.