There is, in fact, a strong liberal case to make for America’s current use of surveillance to combat terrorism.
Liberals are not libertarians or anarchists. Liberals believe in a proper use of government to maximize the common good, including public safety.
What liberals have long opposed are abuses of power that harm individuals yet do nothing to keep us safe: systematic torture, racial profiling, FBI infiltration and disruption of civil rights groups, communist witch hunts, Japanese interment camps, the Palmer raids — the list goes on.
Similarly, liberals oppose the abuse of political power to intimidate political opponents, such as the Bush administration’s purge of U.S. attorneys who wouldn’t pursue trumped up allegations of voter fraud, or Richard Nixon’s (thwarted) attempt to use the IRS to punish adversaries.
In this case, such abuses did not occur.
I agree that there needs to be some level of surveillance, but dragnet style operations are definitely not good.