Mark Hammer

You seem to be saying this is how it’s going to be, and has to be, from now on.

My question is, if it didn’t have to be like this from now on, what would be the criteria for that turning point? My stance is that if we don’t plan for that transition point by asking that question, we will never reach it; it will always remain some abstract point off in some abstract future. (Although there could be a TLC show in it, somewhere “NSA Data Hoarders”).

“Don’t know what we don’t know” suggests that determination of that transition point can never be in the hands of the electorate, or even legislators, for that matter, but would remain the eternal perogative of those within the security infrastructure, who simply can’t tell us what the relative risk is in concrete terms, because it would “compromise national security”. Makes one feel kind of locked in a windowless enclosure by someone on the other side of the door who says they will let you know when it’s safe to come out. (Although to inject a teeny bit of levity in an otherwise solemn topic, I’m reminded of comedian David Brenner’s old routine about how it’s the female mosquitoes that bite, but the male mosquitoes that make the most noise, so the time to be most concerned about being bitten is when you don’t hear anything.)

Do I want to rely entirely on their judgment? Do I know what they are basing their judgment on, or do I have to take it completely on faith that their judgment is astute, comprehensive, balanced, unbiased, well-calibrated?