Instead of surveillant private citizens and their library checkouts, there are far more important types of surveillance that would be productive in the War on Terror.
For instance, surveillance on the Energy Policy Committee chaired by Vice-President Dick Cheney would have been invaluable in understanding the background to the War on Iraq, the War on the Environment, the War on Afghanistan, and the War to Raise Energy Prices.
It would have been very useful to surveil the cabinet meetings of the Bush Administration, to hear the private counsel of Condoleeza Rice to the President, to hear Karl Rove explain to the President how to get by with deceiving the American public, and to hear conversations between Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and other Zionists with their handlers in Israel. It would be interesting to hear the private conversations between Bush and Ariel Sharon, the Butcher of Beersheba.
It would even be interesting to hear the discussions with the Democratic National Committee and various party officials on strategies to avoid culpability for their support of the lying explanations offered by the Bush Administration, which many concerned citizens could detect in real time.
It would be interesting to see surveillance tapes of all communications between Bush and his staff early on the morning of 9/11/2001. It would also be interesting to know first hand about the communications between some "security agent" and Democrat San Francisco Mayor (at the time) Wille Brown, which led Mayor Brown to cancel his flight plans to New York the morning of 9/11/2001.
There are so many things we would like to have answers for, which surveillance of government officials in both political parties could have provided. What did Dick Cheney talk to Judge Scalia about during their famous hunting trip? Who persuaded the Bush administration to allow bin Laden relatives out of the country in the day or two following 9/11 without extensive law enforcement interviews, especially since Bush himself laid the blame on bin Laden within hours of the attack? How did the Bush administration get the identities and even photographs of all the hijackers so quickly after the attack, if there was no expectation of any planning for such an attack?
If the U.S. government was properly surveillant in order to protect public interest, perhaps the U.S. would truly be a safer place. If the 9/11 Commission had been staffed by professional world-class private news investigators instead of insider political hacks, perhaps we would have an incisive understanding of 9/11 in all its details, and some arrest warrants that would put some Federal officials at the highest level in prison without possibility of bail.
The kind of surveillance needed to make America safe is not what the Patriot Act authorized. But it is still possible that with some application of proper interrogation techniques, we could still get the truth and accountability from those who put America at risk and allowed so many disastrous events and policies to take place.