Bradley Manning proved that massive amounts of the government's most secret data was vulnerable to being dumped on the open Internet. A single individual achieved that unprecedented leak. According to the Washington Post, "An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances." And this week, we learned that the FBI, CIA and NSA were unable to protect some of their most closely held secrets from Glenn Greenwald, Richard Engel, Robert Windrem, Barton Gellman, and Laura Poitras. Those journalists, talented as they are, possess somewhat fewer resources than foreign governments! So I naturally started to think about all the data the NSA is storing.
In the wrong hands, it could enable blackmail on a massive scale, widespread manipulation of U.S. politics, industrial espionage against American businesses;,and other mischief I can't even imagine.
The plan is apparently to store the data indefinitely, just in case the government needs it for future investigations. Don't worry, national security officials tell us, we won't ever look at most of it.
Do you trust the government to keep it secure, forever, if others try to look?