@ Rob19 - Don't you "[child] please" me Ochocinco.
Looking at that snippet of an article that you pasted, it is clear that the expanded powers for the NSA came about as a knee jerk reaction to the 9-11 and as a result of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act was written by Congress in a bi-partisan effort to keep this country safe from terrorists. Could you imagine the backlash that Bush would have received had he not signed such a bill in the wake of such an emotional tragedy? It was yet another piece of legislation likely passed and approved in haste, much like the American Recovery and Restoration Act and later the Affordable Care Act, but I digress.
The difference, however, between that and the current Prism program is that the efforts of the Patriot Act had a much more clear purpose, and while I don't necessarily approve of how they went about it (because it borders on being Unconsitutional), at least it was targeting select individuals that warranted surveillance (i.e. it went after people with ties to Al Qaeda or similar organizations not your everyday citizen). So I hope you now see the difference. Bush, ultimately, was a little more obvious about where he stood and why (to keep the country safe from terrorists) versus current mantra of "just trust the government because we know what's good for you."
Furthermore, Obama went ahead and extended the Patriot Act in 2011, and gave it his stamp of approval with 10 years of hindsight, so at this point it is all on "the guy" currently in charge. I think the thing that bugs me is the blatant hypocrisy, as Obama claims to be the President of "transparency." Transparent my @$$, and since when did the AP become a bunch of terrorists and need their phones tapped? As for Prism, it is program aimed at the general public, as a means of data gathering for whatever the purpose (makes you wonder). They can now also do DNA swabs according the Supreme Court for a multitude of less than ethical reasons.
I can't wait to live in world where my DNA is on file; while all my calls recorded; my internet usage is documented and the government has a kill-switch to turn it off at will; where the IRS controls my healthcare or targets me based on some legit affiliations; the EPA sets regulations as to what toilet, light bulb, refrigerator and/or car I can buy; where teachers unions dictate the terms of my education; where I am told I have to be nice to everyone for fear I get labeled a bigot by the PC community; where success is demonized and I am encouraged to suck on the government teat (or worse yet, bribed to become a government employee to pay down my student loans); where I don't have the means to protect myself because of gun control laws that give criminals who don't follow them the upper hand (maybe those drones will protect me); finally, for the privilege of living in banana republic with a bunch of bureaucrats that have been questionably elected and supported by various interest groups. <please note the obvious sarcasm in my tangential rant>
Ultimately, I have come to the conclusion that there are two types of politicians in this world (regardless of party), those that are Statists and want to consolidate power under a centralized government (to control your life), and those that are Populists that want to empower the people to be self-reliant and states to be more self-sufficient. Most of our Neo-Cons and Progressives as of late are the former, unfortunately. While its easy to point the finger at the previous regimes for opening up Pandora's Box, going forward, it is ultimately it is up to us to elect and put pressure on our officials not to abuse their powers that have been granted to them.