President Obama and Congress appear to be moving closer to a consensus on how to respond to the disclosure that the National Security Agency has been sucking up Americans' telephone metadata. This is only one aspect of concerns about the NSA that tumbled out of the documents revealed by Edward Snowden, the former contractor who leaked them and then fled the country, winding up in Russia. But congressional action on this issue would be a good start and ought to be at the top of the agenda.
To remind: Telephone metadata holds the details of calls between people numbers called, time and date. It does not include the actual content of the calls. Congress approved changes to the law after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to give the NSA broad writ to retain this metadata.
While no one has identified a specific person who was hurt by this surveillance, in some sense everyone's privacy was dented. Public opinion is divided, but in recent months there's been a growing unease with the NSA programs that scoop up so much information about everyday phone calls.