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SANTA FE — Summers of non-election years are usually pretty lifeless politically. But not this year. We have gobs of scandals at both the federal and state levels.
At the federal level, we have security vs. safety vs. surveillance vs. snooping vs. privacy vs. terrorists. And no one seems to be able to figure out a consistent position.
Nearly everyone loved the Patriot Act in 2001. We’ll never let those guys sneak up on us again. Top Bush administration officials even briefly considered taking everybody’s guns away.
Gradually, over the years, we decided maybe the Patriot Act infringed on too many individual rights. Then came the Boston Marathon bombing. Where were our guys who were supposed to be catching terrorists before they could act?
So we began looking at more surveillance. Then a private contractor working for the National Security Agency released an avalanche of emails indicating we are being watched much more than we think.
Many members of Congress are very confused.
They want to blame both problems on the administration but the best they have been able to come up with is more snooping on the bad guys and no snooping on the good guys. And it’s the president’s job to figure out how to do that.
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