I prefer to use rsync to scp as it allows you to both resume downloads, or re-copy content while only transfering the changed files. Often though, you need to have root priv on the remote machine.
I found the following quick fix to work wonders.
Step 1: Enter your sudo password on the remote machine:
stty -echo; ssh user@remote-host sudo -v; stty echo
Thanks to the per tty ticketing in sudo, subsequent connections within a short timeout will not need to re-enter the sudo password.
Step 2: rsync your files:
rsync -avP –rsync-path=’sudo rsync’ user@remote-host:dir .