“It’s very concerning,” said Jack Lerner, a law professor at the University of Southern California who specializes in privacy and national security. “I’ve seen surveys that already show some changing attitudes, however I’ve also seen a Pew survey that said there’s still a pretty strong majority in favor of essentially letting the NSA do this.”
Not that Lerner agrees it should – “There’re no checks and balances on the way they’re using it. There’s no guarantee they’re not listening on phone sex calls, or people they know, or public figures, or journalists.” He remembered a former NSA worker alleging the agency had monitored then-Sen. Barack Obama’s communications in the mid-2000s.
But as far as a potential intelligence reform bill, or a public groundswell of opposition to the government’s surveillance apparatus – there’s been nothing of the kind.
Snowden has achieved folk hero status in some quarters and his disclosures have unquestionably caused headaches for the White House, particularly with European allies – tensions that could create future complications. But so far he’s achieved nothing close to the goal of “summoning the American people to confront the growing danger of tyranny,” as Snowden’s father put it in an open letter on Tuesday. Members of Congress have not only ignored Snowden’s call to arms but complain that his leaks have set back their ability to do their normal work.