May 11, 2006

The largest database ever assembled in the world

That's how an anonymous source characterized the fact that the NSA has been "secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth." Did I mention they were doing this without warrants?

The NSA wants to have a record of every call ever made in the U.S.

I was joking with a friend on the phone yesterday because she and I were making plans for Saturday, and she made mention of a particular word. I said,

"Careful, They may be wiretapping us, you know."
The government is collecting "external" data on domestic phone calls but is not intercepting "internals," a term for the actual content of the communication, according to a U.S. intelligence official familiar with the program. This kind of data collection from phone companies is not uncommon; it's been done before, though never on this large a scale, the official said. The data are used for "social network analysis," the official said, meaning to study how terrorist networks contact each other and how they are tied together.
Or so they say. I can't help but feel violated. Qwest Communications has so far been the only telecommunications company to not comply.

Bush gave a little speech today to defend the NSA's actions. Check out how the speech begins. No surprises here (emphasis mine, natch):
After September the 11th, I vowed to the American people that our government would do everything within the law to protect them against another terrorist attack. As part of this effort, I authorized the National Security Agency to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. In other words, if al Qaeda or their associates are making calls into the United States or out of the United States, we want to know what they're saying.
But you're collecting data from everyone. Including me. You callin' me al Qaeda, dumbass?
We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans. Our efforts are focused on links to al Qaeda and their known affiliates. So far we've been very successful in preventing another attack on our soil.
Ugh. Here we go again. This man must be stopped.

(Props to AMERICAblog for the heads up.)


Drew said...

It's just a continuation of the ultimate 'no lose' scenario. If we don't get attacked again, it must be because they're doing a 'heckuva job', if we do, it's just further proof that we need to escalate the war on terror and invade Iran. The only people who suffer are ordinary Americans who don't want to die in combat or want to make phone calls to someone besides the RNC.

Brian said...

Yup. Even better was this little tidbit off CNN: "Republican Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi said Specter should back off his call for hearings. "What are people worried about? What is the problem?" asked Lott, a former majority leader. "Are you doing something you're not supposed to?"

Because anyone who protests this sort of massive invasion of privacy must be a criminal.

Laurie said...

"What are people worried about? What is the problem?" asked Lott, a former majority leader. "Are you doing something you're not supposed to?"

No, dickhead, I'm talking about something that's none of your damn business. But speaking of doing things you're not supposed to, have you talked to your reflection lately?