The security issues are real, and in general we support the kinds of broad metadata work under consideration. But we dont trust any set of officials to handle this indefinitely without adequate judicial oversight and review, and indeed it would be hostile to the fundamental principles of our political system to do so. The American constitutional system is based on the idea that you trust your mother, but you still cut the cards. An adversarial justice system, like the division of powers, is intended to ensure that every element of the government is subject to checks and controls.

Congress needs to revisit this subject, and we would like to see a greater role for the Supreme Court in reviewing this emerging field of important constitutional law.

Sadly, the combination of rapidly changing communications technology and an evolving security threat means that these security questions will be with us for some time. It is therefore all the more important to ensure that the legal foundations of these programs be securely grounded in constitutional principles and that the operation of this system be appropriately overseen.