Thomas Baker’s recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal is eminently forgettable. But its misguided criticism of the FBI’s post-9/11 embrace of counterintelligence highlights how much has changed since Donald Trump took office.
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.