> where anyone accused of a crime can challenge the evidence and the providence of that evidence against them
In the US, this has not been true for some time. You are asserting the very problems we're talking about. Secret Courts. Secret Evidence. Secret Process.
> In a similar case the Patriot Act has been used twice in court
The PA is a series of provisions (controversially, Section 215 - see John Oliver + Edward Snowden). Your statement makes no sense, without additional detail or citation.
> People continue to bitch and moan about the NSA "secret" data collection programs without ever realizing if they were "actually secret" how the fuck would we be arguing it?
Leaks and of course, limited exposure by the NSA (where they disclose that it exists, but no additional details under the cover of National Security). Primarily a number of service providers (from contractors to employees to ex-employees) that started with sources at Google and Yahoo almost a decade ago, then later, smaller providers. Snowden was another leaker. There have been many such projects (wikipedia: Carnivore via the FBI, Echelon - Multinational Effort, PRISM - NSA).
> The attempts to capture internet data was not a secret when the defining mass indiscriminate collection of data programs were shit canned because of the costs involved and the lack of usefulness.
I'm not sure where you get that information. It's unsubstantiated. Different bureaus seem to create them, routinely and with varying degrees of coverage.
> Even Snowden and his pet journalists have not released one piece if information that was not already easily discovered by anyone with an IQ over 50.
I don't think you are aware of the content of what has been released. Many of the documents are operational notes, which do not contain information you can deduce. Take a look @ https://snowdenarchive.cjfe.or... - link under the magnifying glass, click the search button. Go learn something.
You have a shockingly naiive narrative from my viewpoint. Some of it is not necessarily misguided. Perhaps you distrust a larger number of sources than the average skeptic. As I am someone who has had access to the FBI and Secret Service in the 90's, when dealing with software hackers and hardware monitoring, I find this all rather pedestrian knowledge.
> It's hard to claim someone is hiding something when it is front page news.
You're really not understanding the breadth of the problem. It's institutionally enforced, despite the fact that these abuses are known (ostensibly because they are not viewed as important or even abuses). The US Govt doesn't have to say much to sell it. You know, terrorists. https://www.eff.org/issues/nat... - At the very least, try to do some research regarding the stories you are referencing.