I have asserted no "massive campaign" of any kind, or any conspiracy of that kind. I have specifically denied such a campaign in this argument. This is the third time you have attempted to reframe like that. I know you find it difficult to refrain from reworking other people's arguments to suit your rebuttals, but I do not believe you incapable of such restraint, with careful attention. Risen has no way of knowing whether the program was abused or not. You have no way of checking on Risen's claims. Without warrants, there are no records available for oversight. That's the whole point: no accountability in fact. No reassurances are possible. And the government can hold that threat over its enemies from then on. If you take the government agency word, that may even be true for at least a majority of the people involved. Why they needed to hide and refuse to get warrants for something like that is a mystery, though. But regardless of their original motives, sincerity, etc, what they set up was a program of warrantless wiretap and email monitoring of anyone they wanted to surveil. They committed a federal crime, a felony. The system is inherently abusive - no one needs to demonstrate abuse of it: the program itself is abuse. It threatens. There already is, and was, "something like that". It's called a warrant. It's the Constitutionally required and FISA law mandated next step after this one: The reason for requiring warrants was the Founders' experience and knowledge of how governments, all governments, every single government that has ever existed on this planet, will eventually act given certain opportunities. That is not a conspiracy theory, that is simple prudence. Rove and his kind will do what they can get away with. The NSA will experience mission creep (the national defense does involve Halliburton's security, Chevron's needs). The best intentions are not proof against anything. There has never been a problem with any arrangement that includes warrants, available retroactively and 24/7/365 from a dedicated FISA court. Why did they refuse to get warrants ? Or why did that man just pull that ski mask over his face ? And are we seriously arguing about whether an executive branch executed warrantless wiretapping operation, kept secret from Congress and hidden from the Judiciary, under the protection of classification and with no oversight outside that same Executive Branch, capable of monitoring the phones and emails of any American citizen - including the political enemies of its instigators - deserves immediate and severe legal attention as soon as it is discovered ?