I haven't touched politics here in a long time, mainly because it just depresses the hell out of me. But this fellow's story in the Washington Post really drives home the state of democracy in the U.S.
National Security Letters have gag orders attached to them: basically, you're ordered to perform some task on behalf of the FBI, without any involvement of the judiciary, and under penalty of federal time, you're not permitted to discuss the matter with anyone, especially the target of an investigation. It's like a creepy, perverse version of Fight Club for governments: "the first rule of an NSL is: do not talk about the NSL". The old phrase, "If you're not outraged, you haven't been paying attention," has never been so true as today.
One interesting thing I saw as a result of some discussion about this particular fellow's situation was the response of storage provider rsync.net: at some point, they thought about this particular problem, and propsed a solution they're calling their "Warrant Canary". Basically, once a week, they cryptographically sign a statement on their website, including a snippet of a current news headline to indicate freshness of the statement, stating that they have never been the recipients of warrent, search, or seizure of any kind. Should the updates stop for any reason, you can assume the worst. It doesn't handle the case where they are compelled to continue updating the page, but NSLs only require you to not directly disclose that you've received them, not to assert to others that you have not. In other words, they're not requiring you to lie; they're simply requiring you to not disclose that fact. (Requiring you to lie would have even more serious constitutional consequences, ignoring the whole non-judicial warrant aspect of the National Security Letters.)
It's an interesting response to the problem, and proof that we aren't under a tyrrany (which would imply the intelligence to recognize when someone was trying to skirt the rules), but are simply under the rule of incompetancy, coupled with a few groups all too eager to take advantage of that. The sad thing is, I have very little hope for the next round of elections; politicians on both sides of the aisle had no problem voting for the Patriot Act in the first place.