These programs are criticized as grave threats to civil liberties. They are not. Their significance is in flagging the existence of gaps in our defenses against terrorism. The Defense Department is rushing to fill those gaps, though there may be better ways.Read the rest here.
The power of a good argument: Posner almost single-handedly changes my mind.
The only argument against it is posed by this, the visit of two Homeland Security agents to the home of some student who put Mao's Little Red Book (the official version, mind you) on inter-library loan. Sure it's kinda creepy, but it's also just stupid. Potential terrorists aren't reading the Collected Quotations of Chairman Mao any more than Communists read the Koran. As Posner says, the people behind all this surveillance seem confused about who their targets are or should be. If the system is as benign as Posner believes, then that's fine I guess, but it wastes time, energy, and resources on certain dead ends.
Basically, I guess, I'd feel better if Richard Posner were running the NSA or the FBI or whatever it is that is monitoring my blogging right now.
More: The opposition here and here. The second one is quite a bit better.