The debate over the NSA's data collection should lead to a better balance between rights of privacy and requirements of foreign intelligence. But whatever the outcome of that debate, it has failed to acknowledge inherent deficiencies and risks in "foreign intelligence" and the transcendent role of foreign policy in the defense of our national interests. Our foreign policy failures and dilemmas reflect failures of a cerebral sort of intelligence, including a lack of experience in the real world away from Washington, its arm chair polemicists, its ideological think thanks, and too little experience in military ground forces where you learn to expect the unexpected. Policy has been driven by ideologues, militarists, and amateurs, including Members of Congress who are little noted nowadays for real world experience.
Just as with the rather ridiculous and exaggerated claims about the calamities that would befall all of us if we removed lead from gasoline, we hear similar refrains about the catastrophic consequences of eliminating incandescent bulbs. And yet, just as with lead removal, the economy did not collapse as the bulb phaseout was implemented.
Let's give the two of them the benefit of the doubt and inspect the plausibility of their quasi-allegations. What on earth would the Russians gain from forcing the US to dial back its purportedly essential and effective dragnet surveillance of the world's peoples? That's a tough one, but the obvious answer is "nothing," because we are not at war with Russia.