It's important to keep your Benjamin Friedmans straight.
Benjamin M. Friedman, who must be in his early 60s, is an eminent professor of economics at Harvard and a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and, yes, the Atlantic. He has helped lead us to clear thinking about economics and related political/cultural matters.
Benjamin H. Friedman, who must be in his late 20s, is a PhD candidate at MIT who has done some very valuable work at a tender age. An essay three years ago in MIT's publication "Breakthroughs" was one of the earliest attempts, anywhere, to say: wait a minute, how much are we willing to give away or throw away in the name of being "safe"? (The essay is "Leap before you look" and is on page 29 of this 6MB PDF file.) The logic is now familiar: just as a person can avoid many "risks" by never leaving the house or answering the phone, so a society can be "secure" by keeping everyone under scrutiny all the time. The only problem is, what makes life worth living disappears. Again, many people say this now: fewer did in 2004.
As far as I know, the two Benjamins are not related.
Benjamin "MIT" Friedman has recently pointed out another "leap before you look" step in the quest for security:the impending Congressional mandate, reported here by our sister publication Government Executive, to require the government to scan all cargo containers before they are shipped to the United States.