2001 saw the "Summer of the Shark", where the media went hysterical about shark attacks with breathless, wall-to-wall coverage. Do you know how many people in the US died from shark attacks in 2001?
We tend to have very bad "gut feel" reactions to events, which makes it hard to analyze risk. For example, one person was killed by a shark in 2012 but 22 were killed by cattle (numbers for US only, but the risks are similar across the world).
And yet people fear shark attack.
We're told that the NSA's monitoring program stopped one attack. That's one shark attack foiled. We also know that the IRS screwed over hundreds of the Administration's opponents, and illegally released the donor list of another. Donors were threatened and intimidated. That's the cattle stompings.
My starting point is that there's far more risk from the monitoring than from the terror attacks. There are far more opportunities for Agencies and politicians to increase their power using terror attacks. Perhaps I'm wrong, but with the utter lack of transparency from this Administration (and indeed, previous Administrations), compounded by the Media's subservient excuse making for this Administration, combined with the institutional lack of transparency of the Intelligence Agencies ("NSA" stands for "Never Say Anything"), I simply don't expect to be persuaded differently.
Said differently, I personally am adopting NSA's unofficial motto for use when dealing with all governmental requests for power: In God we trust; all others we monitor.
The smart money is more afraid of cows than sharks.