Aside from the abuses of the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution which states;
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
One might be compelled to wonder why the government is continuing to engage in massive data mining when it is obviously of limited value in identifying the objects of the purpose provided by the Patriot Act, terrorists.
Out of the mountains of data collected from various sources, the government couldn’t find two Chechens with pressure cooker bombs in Boston. It couldn’t find the Pakistani with a car bomb in New York. It couldn’t find the Fort Hood shooter. It could be argued that all it could find was a video intended to persuade people away from Islam that it could use in a cover up of mass incompetence in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of an Ambassador and other State Department staff. Although, it might be possible that it found that video by other means rather than data mining efforts.
Considering all things known about the surveillance methods used under the guise of the Patriot Act, it appears to be a huge failure; and there is no longer any justification for continuing, notwithstanding that the government has no grounds to be doing it on such a massive scale in the first place.
Since Obama is interested in “ending the war on terror,” I think the first step ought to be repeal of the Patriot Act; and perhaps we should replace it with a law against government incompetence, punishable by life in prison. That would, I think, would be far more effective in “keeping us safe” that anything that currently exists in US code.