MILITARY

US officials, civil libertarians disagree on possible consequences if surveillance laws lapse

  • FILE - In this June 6, 2013 file photo, the sign outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. Barring a last-minute deal in Congress, three post 9/11 surveillance laws used against spies and terrorists are set to expire midnight Sunday. Will that make Americans less secure?  Absolutely, senior Obama administration officials say.  Nonsense, counter civil liberties activists.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

    FILE - In this June 6, 2013 file photo, the sign outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. Barring a last-minute deal in Congress, three post 9/11 surveillance laws used against spies and terrorists are set to expire midnight Sunday. Will that make Americans less secure? Absolutely, senior Obama administration officials say. Nonsense, counter civil liberties activists. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • President Barack Obama speaks to media as he meets with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 29, 2015. The president said a "handful of senators" are the only thing standing in the way of an extension of key Patriot Act provisions before they expire at midnight Sunday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

    President Barack Obama speaks to media as he meets with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 29, 2015. The president said a "handful of senators" are the only thing standing in the way of an extension of key Patriot Act provisions before they expire at midnight Sunday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)  (The Associated Press)

  • President Barack Obama speaks to media as he meets with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 29, 2015. The president said a "handful of senators" are the only thing standing in the way of an extension of key Patriot Act provisions before they expire at midnight Sunday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

    President Barack Obama speaks to media as he meets with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 29, 2015. The president said a "handful of senators" are the only thing standing in the way of an extension of key Patriot Act provisions before they expire at midnight Sunday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)  (The Associated Press)

Barring a last-minute deal in Congress, three post-Sept. 11 surveillance laws used against spies and terrorists are set to expire when Sunday turns into Monday.

Will that make Americans less secure?

Depends on who's asked.

The answer from Obama administration officials — absolutely.

The answer from civil liberties activists — nonsense.

There are compelling arguments on both sides. But it's clear that the government will face new barriers in domestic national security investigations at a time when intelligence officials say the threat at home is growing.