It's too early to jump to any conclusions about the extent of NSA spying on American citizens based on the recent revelations from Edward Snowden. Who is Edward Snowden? What is his background? What are his motives? Did he cherry pick facts, did he distort them? All these questions need to be answered before we can understand how bad the problem is. That being said, I applaud Snowden for putting this issue in the headlines where it belongs.
I think it is obvious that our government has been engaged in a massive surveillance of the American people and that there is almost no effective oversight by Congress or anyone else over who gets examined, why, and how is the data used. They insist they are protecting us from dangerous terrorist attacks. Really, then prove it to Congress. Prove that the government isn't using this huge data-collection apparatus to spy on political organizations or using it to blackmail politicians into voting a certain way.
I can assert with great confidence that if the NSA is NOT using this data against political organizations or politicians now, it's just a matter of time before they will. Someday someone in control of all this data will realize the vast power they have and how easy it is to use it to get what they want...and we may never know it until it's too late (and, yes, it has occurred to me that maybe this is happening already).
If I could, I would appoint a panel of citizens to examine our espionage agencies and report to the American people. We need to know what they are doing, how they are doing it, and what prevents them from abusing their power. We also need to know if they are using their budgets wisely and if the benefits are worth the costs. We need to set up some kind of effective oversight to protect the privacy of the millions of innocent citizens who are doing nothing dangerous and never will.
If the only way to prevent terrorist attacks is to secretly spy on every American citizen with no oversight, then we'll just have to accept a greater risk of terrorist attacks.