Yochai Benkler: NSA gets little helpful intel from Americans' metadata

NSA chief Keith Alexander, DNI James Clapper and Deputy Attorney General James Cole testify before the Senate intelligence committee. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters

Professor Yochai Benkler, writing an op-ed for the Guardian:

Dragnet surveillance, or bulk collection, goes to the heart of what is wrong with the turn the NSA has taken since 2001. It implements a perpetual "state of emergency" mentality that inverts the basic model outlined by the fourth amendment: that there are vast domains of private action about which the state should remain ignorant unless it provides clear prior justification. And all public evidence suggests that, from its inception in 2001 to this day, bulk collection has never made more than a marginal contribution to securing Americans from terrorism, despite its costs.