06/19/2013 02:27 pm ET Updated Aug 19, 2013

Better Read Than Dead

I am not overly concerned at the idea that my emails might be read or my phone calls listened to. Apart from the fact that I am discreet about what I put on the open media, consider the alternatives.

Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of NSA, has testified that "dozens" of terrorist operations have been foiled by NSA's highly sophisticated intelligence collection techniques, which include the recently revealed "metadata" and Prism.

Gen. Alexander is an honorable man, subject to the code of military honor. Why not accept what he says at face value? Personally, I'd rather be read than dead.

To the surprise of some, and depending on different polls, this seems to be the view of a majority, or near majority, of Americans. Apart from some libertarians on the right, and others on the far left, the center seems to be holding.

There are ways, no doubt, that oversight of the NSA programs can be improved, and President Obama has said that he "welcomes" a debate on the subject.

At a time when our military, and our intelligence, security, and law enforcement agencies are straining every fiber to prevent a terrorist attack on the U.S., let us commend them for their efforts and take with a grain of salt the knee-jerk observations of a distorted idealist like Edward Snowden.