A database of every phone call in America! I am angry, sad and disgusted. What's wrong with these people?The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.
The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.
As usual, Glenn Greenwald is all over this one.
Remember what Cheney said about the illegal warrantless wiretapping of international phone calls:
It's important that you be clear that we're talking about individuals who are al Qaeda or have an association with al Qaeda, who we have reason to believe are part of that terrorist network. There are two requirements, and that's one of them. It's not just random conversations. If you're calling Aunt Sadie in Paris, we're probably not really interested....but if Aunt Sadie lives in Topeka, well, go fuck yourself.
Madison, Jefferson et al. are spinning in their graves. Nice of Dubya to pose in front of Washington while defending (sic) the program:
As a general matter, every time sensitive intelligence is leaked, it hurts our ability to defeat this enemy. Our most important job is to protect the American people from another attack, and we will do so within the laws of our country.I don't want this country to be attacked by terrorists, but, come on -- do we put this kind of emphasis on the numerous other threats out there? Guns in the streets, cancer, obesity, heart disease, fire, automobile accidents, hurricanes, killer priests, secondhand smoke, lightning, bears, falling trees . . . what do the actuarial tables say about the relative risks? Yeah, yeah -- hurricane and lightning aren't actively seeking to destroy our way of life. Al Qaeda is. But we're doing it for them. The "threat" of another terrorist attack in no way requires the abrogation of basic American principles.
It has to be said again: the president's job is to protect and defend the Constitution. ITMFA!
There has been a coup d'etat in this country.