The Shadow Factory is a frightening book. It is especially frightening when you realize that the incomprehensibly massive database of phone calls, emails, and web searches that the United States government is indiscriminately intercepting and stockpiling in the name of the War on Terror could easily be used as the foundation of a future tyranny. What is needed right now is a national organization as fanatically devoted to defending the 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure as the National Rifle Association is devoted to defending the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.
Bamford's book makes the case that in the months before 9/11 there were multiple occasions when the terrorists' activities within the United States could have been detected using nothing more than the tools provided by existing laws and the plot could have been foiled if the National Security Agency had been doing its job. After the attacks the NSA shifted from dangerous under reaction to dangerous overreaction and overstepped its Constitutional bounds by essentially intercepting all communication passing through the United States, and all without judicial warrants which would at least give the government's actions the appearance of legality.