WASHINGTON – Disclosure of secret National Security Agency surveillance programs isn't the first time that the government has been caught spying on Americans or that classified government information has been leaked. The Vietnam War and civil rights protest movements of the 1960s and 1970s generated plenty of surveillance and secrecy. And leaks.
But with the rise in Internet usage, there's a far bigger audience now.
Opinion polls suggest Americans may be more forgiving of government intrusion these days.
That may partly reflect increasing acceptance of online social networking sites, which create electronic trails frequently used to target shoppers or voters. But it also may be partly because Washington says electronic snooping may prevent another 9/11-style terror attack, and many Americans may worry more about being safe than about government intrusions.