This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post.
The president of the ACLU, Professor Susan Herman, recently debated the proposition that "Our government is doing the terrorists' work for them by undermining our way of life and our liberties". She presented highly troubling cases in what she called government "dragnets" leading to the arrest and long detention of innocent people. She railed against the lack of transparency and the chilling effects of investigating leaks to the press. I was supposed to take the other side. I could do so by claiming that hordes of brutal ISIS terrorists could sneak across our porous borders any day; that terrorists could take out any one of our cities with a nuclear bomb; and that our water reservoirs--for instance that of Washington DC--were not protected by more than three seagulls. Instead I tried to make the case for policy analysis instead of one-sided advocacy. This is a thesis that deserves some elaboration.
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