Increasing terrorist attacks could help to boost public support for additional surveillance laws, according to law enforcement officials.

In a story which first appeared in the Washington Post, many law and intelligence agencies claimed that while at present, many people do not support having their privacy eroded by government agencies, events such as the Philadelphia police shooting and the recent waves of stabbings by alleged ISIS terrorists could soon change all that.

Indeed, the intelligence community’s top lawyer, Robert S. Litt, said to colleagues in an August e-mail, which was obtained by The Post was recorded as saying that while he legislative environment is very “hostile” today, that could change “in the event of a terrorist attack or criminal event where strong encryption can be shown to have hindered law enforcement.”

The email was first uncovered in August 2015, before some of the recent terrorist attacks started to occur.

Mr Litt added that “keeping our options open for such a situation” would be valuable.

A senior White House official who has not yet been named by the Washington Post was quoted as saying: “People are still not persuaded this is a problem. People think we have not made the case. We do not have the perfect example where you have the dead child or a terrorist act to point to, and that’s what people seem to claim you have to have.”

In addition, a draft paper prepared by National Security Council staff members in July claimed: “Overall, the benefits to privacy, civil liberties and cybersecurity gained from encryption outweigh the broader risks that would have been created by weakening encryption.”

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