It seems the unease I expressed earlier in the week was warranted.
We were told that we needed to record everybody's telecom metadata in order to find the needles in the haystack. Its not clear that many needles have been found that way, but regardless, we already had THESE particular needles. We didn't need the telecom metadata program to find them. And, apparently, having the needles isn't enough.
A rational question to ask is why, if these people were on watch lists, were they able to successfully carry out an attack? If its a matter of resources, then its reasonable to ask why we don't invest more resources in actually keeping track of known suspected terrorists? If there isn't enough money to go around, perhaps that is because we've spent too much money chasing unknown unknowns and not enough money chasing known unknowns? Even if you don't buy that, then perhaps you'd accept that you simply ought to be spending more total money on anti-terrorism if your country is being deluged with militants returning from Syria and you can't keep track of them all effectively?
Of course, we're not going to be allowed to ask those questions.You see, there is no such thing as an "intelligence failure." The intelligence community is beyond question and it is not appropriate to think critically about their strategy or focus.
The problem we have is the ancient right of habeas corpus. If you want fewer terrorist attacks, you're going to have to get rid of that.
Nice western civilization you've got there, with all your silly little historical precedents. It would be a shame if something happened to it.