It is hardly surprising that supporters of bulk collection fervently believe it is critical to national security. No psychologically well-balanced person could permit herself to support a program that compromises the privacy of tens of millions of Americans, costs billions of dollars, and imposes direct and articulable harm to cyber security by undermining the security of commercial products and public standards without holding such a belief truly and honestly.
But the honest faith of insiders that their bureaucratic mission is true and critical is no substitute for credible evidence. A dozen years of experience has produced many public overstatements and much hype from insiders, but nothing to support the proposition that the program works at all, much less that its marginal contribution is significant enough to justify its enormous costs in money, freedom, and destabilization of internet security. No rational cost-benefit analysis could justify such a leap of faith.