1. It would be my opinion that the government should in fact protect the privacy of all citizens. Understand that this may not be possible at all times. Would like to think that if there would be a reason for not protecting citizen's data then transparency is the best solution: Would offer that with the renewal of the Patriot Act, it was announced that NSA was going to use META data to sometimes connect the dots regarding terrorists and other security related issues there might have been some "noise" and if NSA or DHS or CIA had made a good enough case we wouldn't be involved in this less than ideal discussion, where the government is saying that we have been using META data since the original Patriot Act and some of the key players denying there could be anything like that going on and then as more data became available from the Guardian via Mr. Snowden and NSA agreed that we (the US) is capturing META data the response from the providers of that data became somewhat less vocal in their denials.
2. MY OPINION the canned statements made by Mr. Clapper and the President did very little to convince a certain percentage of Americans that the Meta data collected by the government was not, at least, some overreach of "big brother".
3. Would offer that if the intelligence community didn't believe that these programs were effective that they wouldn't be engaging in the collection of all/any meta data on everyone. Legality of these programs is rather apparent to me at least. But then so were the segregation laws passed by both congress and the state governments some 50 years ago.