The sad fact is that I believe the NSA program of collecting domestic telephone data, not conversations, was not only legal but probably a good idea. If used correctly, simply knowing who was calling who and attempting to detect connections to known terrorist suspects is little more intrusive than asking for ID when you board an airplane. Given that this type of sifting through the noise could have actually prevented attacks convinces me that the potential good outweighs the theoretical harm.
I also believe that if this program had been revealed three years ago, most Americans would have agreed.
But after discovering that we have an administration that will not obtain warrants for domestic surveillance, uses provisions of the Patriot Act to target non-terrorist activities, formed secret cabals to plan torture and declassifies intelligence for the sole purpose of defaming political enemies ,I believe most Americans are no longer willing to give our government the benefit of the doubt.
Even if a program has potential benefit, why should we trust you to run it honorably?