More from the NYT report:
An independent federal privacy watchdog has concluded that the National Security Agency’s program to collect bulk phone call records has provided only “minimal” benefits in counterterrorism efforts, is illegal and should be shut down.
The findings are laid out in a 238-page report, scheduled for release by Thursday and obtained by The New York Times, that represent the first major public statement by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which Congress made an independent agency in 2007 and only recently became fully operational.
The report is likely to inject a significant new voice into the debate over surveillance, underscoring that the issue was not settled by a high-profile speech President Obama gave last week.
I’m old enough to remember when our spy agencies spied on the bad guys (and, uh, “kept tabs” on our friends overseas) instead of on virtually every single American citizen.
The kind of power entailed by all that metadata makes me pretty certain that this report, for all its sound and fury, might not signify very much — no matter what Professor Wiggleroom might-have/sort-have indicated in his speech.