Don't do bad shit, so you don't have to feel bad about it.
Disclaimer: I am writing this as someone who believes that the current US scope of electronic snooping is improperly controlled, far out of bounds, and wholly counterproductive.
From reading the comments here so far, I have come to realize that there is a major "culture gap" between the people who comment on Slashdot and those who work in places like the NSA, the US military, the police or other "authority" organizations. Being (apparently) one of the few people in the former category who also knows and admires friends in the latter category, I thought it might be useful to attempt to explain the cultural gap that otherwise prevents the two groups from understanding each other.
Most employed Americans - including nearly all Slashdotters - have a job. They may like it or hate it, but they fundamentally view themselves as free agents within an economy where their employer wants to get the most work out of them for the least money, and they want to get the most happiness for the least work. Employer/employee loyalty is not particularly important (except where it is grudgingly mandated through unions, which dulls the "free agent" concept as well). Work is what they do to provide for themselves and not their "calling."
Some employed Americans believe themselves instead to have a calling of national service, such as military personnel, or employees of other national-security related agencies. (A similar argument for a "calling" as employment could be made for teachers, firemen, police, community volunteers, etc.) They forego monetary or other opportunity in the belief that the work they are doing to serve their country is a "higher calling" that makes the trade-offs worthwhile. An important difference between "national service" callings vs. some others is an implicit understanding of a military-style discipline - the military does not work if the captain says "let's attack hill X" and the private decides to shoot at hill Y instead.
This is not an attempt to absolve "but I vas only taking orders, herr prosecutor!" behavior. These people still maintain an individual conscience and are willing to exercise it. But by and large, there is a trust that individual employees have (necessarily) only a limited view of the big picture, and the responsibility for figuring out what's right or wrong to do is being shouldered by the executive-level ranks who do actually have the big picture. (For example, you wouldn't want an individual CIA analyst to say "I won't put surveillance on this address" because it's a US address when they don't have the full picture that it's being used by a foreign agent.)
Far too long story short - NSA employees don't feel like their work is spying on Grandma. They think their work is very valuable, and it's spying on potential terrorists or otherwise giving the US political leadership all the data it needs about what is going on anywhere else in the world.. They are not going to spend their time reading up on every secret court ruling about what is or isn't kosher spying - most of them don't have access to all the information anyway! They feel hung out to dry because the senior government officials who they trusted to answer "is this OK?" said "yes" and then didn't back them up when an angry US and world public said, 'WTF?'"
You may agree, you may not agree. Apologies for any misrepresentations to the people I am speaking on behalf of. But I thought it might be useful for most Slashdotters to at least hear the thinking of the people on the "other side" and why it may not be a cut-and-dried issue.