It has been just over 24 hours since key portions of the Patriot Act expired and the National Security Agency is no longer able to collect all of our metadata without probable cause and a warrant. There is no doubt that those who wish to destroy America from within gave up using carrier pigeons, letters written in invisible ink and coded landline telephone calls to plot their attacks and switched immediately to cellphones and email. Does that make you feel less safe today? Will you be checking your Twitter feed constantly to see if more planes are crashing into buildings or if car bombs are going off in every major US city now that this "vital component of our national security" has been taken away from our domestic spies?
Supporters of the practice claim it has helped thwart some plots--yet they never seem to site specific arrests, chargings or convictions. Those idiots who are trying to join ISIS to fight American troops, they are all being arrested in Turkey or Europe--not in their homes as they hatch their plot on their smartphone or tablet. Show me the specific cases where collecting my information helped you capture an "enemy combatant" and I'll be more than happy to let you continue to monitor my activities without a warrant.
There is a very simple reason why everyone's data has to be collected en masse rather than focusing on a few targets: because if we did it that way we would be accused of "profiling". Remember, that was the buzzword in the pre-Obama Administration days when those most likely to be involved in Militant Islamic activities were complaining that it was unfair that they were considered to be a higher risk for taking part in Militant Islamic activities. So that is why the 75-year old woman from Warroad, Minnesota, the Japanese tourist and 42-year old businessman traveling to Kansas City all have to be pulled out of the TSA line at the airport for "additional screening". Or the 10-year old kids have to go through the body scanners. Not that all of the extra airport "security" was doing us any good--since 95% of banned items placed in test luggage made it through the checkpoints without detection. It's a good thing we took off our shoes and our belts--or they probably would have missed that other 5% too.
So let the NSA and the FBI and whatever other law enforcement and security agencies that need metadata from terrorist suspects go back to their secret courts to obtain their secret warrants against those who are actually likely to perpetrate another 9/11 on American soil--and to stop treating all of us like potential terrorists.