The Edward Snowden NSA leak scandal presented a unique opportunity for Congress to re-visit the 09.11.01 reorganization of the intelligence community and, for example, consolidate a few entities under a stronger DCI. Seems like political myopia has set in. Tinkering is all that taxpayers will see on this issue.
For Americans concerned about privacy protections in the national security policy realm, the laws and regulations are very well defined and need to be enforced. Congress and the agencies should start by enforcing these laws. Moreover, Congress must use the power of the purse and robust oversight to deal with the Snowden matter. That has not happened. Most of what has been proposed is for political theatre and mass consumption that, in the long run, could damage U.S. national security.
Worried about privacy and the federal government? As far as Constitutional rights and privacy, there is a clear and present danger from ObamaCare (i.e., socialized medicine) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), not the NSA, DIA, or the CIA. Focus your political firepower and other resources on domestic policy. Demand that your Representative and Senator repeal ObamaCare.
In all policy fields, policymaking by cherry picking and scapegoating can lead to bad outcomes. A national discussion about data privacy rights in our society is long overdue. It needs to include both the government as well as the private sector and must be a comprehensive dialogue.
There has been and will always be a tension between national security and privacy matters in the American political system. The Snowden fiasco (and that is what it is), however, is not primarily about privacy. It is about something a lot more mundane: the organization of government, certain federal government contractors, and the crimes of one individual who held a security clearance. These are not the things that make for sensationalist news programs, but it is where the focus should be moving forward.