For civil libertarians dismayed at many (most?) Americans’ willingness to accept an expanded “national security state,” the problem may lie not so much with the threat of terrorism, but with a general failure to defend civil liberties.That's worth knowing; terrorism isn't a special case, but part of a more general lack of commitment to civil liberties.
That's generally a pretty big problem for the small group (and I'm in that group) who really do consider civil liberties a priority. Basically, you can get lip service support, but it's not deep at all, and for many it doesn't take much to get to where the trade-offs are worth it.
What's more, the incentives for politicians are asymmetrical in a way that biases against civil liberties. That is: the downside of an incremental loss of civil liberties isn't ever going to be very large. But the downside, or at least the perceived downside, of insisting on civil liberties at the expense of some competing value is almost always going to be lopsided in favor of the other value.
And unfortunately, I don't think it's a problem that can be solved. About the best we can hope for is either luck of the draw with politicians who just happen to care about these issues, or, more likely, the courts stepping in.
At any rate: nice catch!