Quotation from James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence:
In a weekend interview with NBC News, Mr. Clapper warned that the revelations could create serious risks to national security. “We’re very, very concerned about it,” he said. “For me, it is literally — not figuratively — literally gut-wrenching to see this happen, because of the huge, grave damage it does to our intelligence capabilities.”
If that's the way he feels about disclosure of NSA's domestic surveillance, what does that tell you about government's attitude toward the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits exactly the kind of activity Clapper wanted to keep secret? Why would the feds reassure us that the surveillance program is harmless - storage of metadata for future analysis if necessary - if the harm of disclosure is so grave?
Spying is spying, and no spy ever wants to get caught. That's why Clapper talks the way he does. If you asked him exactly how this disclosure damages our intelligence capabilities, he would say the answer is a secret! All he can do is condemn the disclosure, with the same arguments he would use to defend foreign surveillance.
For you see, we have entered a time when the NSA does not distinguish between foreign and domestic surveillance. To succeed in the war on terror, intelligence officials would say, you cannot make a distinction like that. Consequently, they do not see a difference between enemies abroad and citizens at home. They all require the same treatment. Given their mission, to protect us, they cannot see why anyone would object to their domestic surveillance programs. All of these programs, foreign and domestic, are equally necessary from NSA's perspective. That tells you how far we have come since 9/11.