Some commentators have suggested that then-FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce misled Congress in 2013 about the NSA’s metadata program. I am confident that Sean testified to the facts as he understood them—not because I know the facts, but because I know Sean.
With the rise of modern technologies, the scope and scale of government surveillance has exploded. The use of digital communication has made communication more efficient, but also much more vulnerable. Governments, meanwhile, are increasing their capacity to exploit these vulnerabilities, and companies, their ability to thwart them. Both the PATRIOT act and the Snowden disclosures pushed the issue to the front of the national conversation. Today, the legal and policy debate—over what kind of surveillance tools are acceptable, against whom, and with with whose authorization—continues in full force.