When Edward Snowden hit the send button on a laptop in Hong Kong in June 2013, just shy of his 30th birthday, he became the poster boy for an acutely American conundrum: the tension between the government’s constitutional commitment to the privacy of individuals and its responsibility for the safety of the nation. Stuart Taylor, Jr. reviews 200 years of surveillance in the U.S., the leading actors in the NSA debate since Snowden’s leaks, and the challenges that lie aheadnamely, finding the right balance between national security and individual privacy. Taylor also enlists four experts representing four distinct perspectives on the issue: U.S. senator Dianne Feinstein, U.S senator John Wyden, former NSA inspector general Joel Brenner, and deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Jameel Jafer. THE BROOKINGS ESSAY: In the spirit of its commitment to high-quality, independent research, the Brookings Institution has commissioned works on major topics of public policy by distinguished authors, including Brookings scholars. The Brookings Essay is a multi-platform product aimed to engage readers in open dialogue and debate. The views expressed, however, are solely those of the author. Available in ebook only.