The NSA, having apparently determined that making a phone call is a gateway activity to terrorism, has partnered up with Verizon, AT&T and Bell South to track the domestic phone calls of tens of millions of Americans —you, me, your mom —all without a warrant, as a part of its unconstitutional’Terrorist Surveillance’ program.
According to a blockbuster report in USA Today:
“It’s the largest database ever assembled in the world,” said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA’s activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency’s goal is “to create a database of every call ever made” within the nation’s borders…For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made —across town or across the country —to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others.
I’m frankly speechless. So is Sen. Pat Leahy: “Are you telling me that tens of millions of Americans are involved with al Qaeda?” Leahy asked.”These are tens of millions of Americans who are not suspected of anything…Where does it stop?”
I sure hope Bush’ CIA director nominee Gen. Michael Hayden gets grilled on this comment to the National Press Club:
This is targeted and focused. This is not about intercepting conversations between people in the United States. This is hot pursuit of communications entering or leaving America involving someone we believe is associated with al-Qaeda…This is focused. It’s targeted. It’s very carefully done. You shouldn’t worry.
As a Verizon and AT&T customer I’m fucking pissed. The only upshot to this, as far as I can see, is that it may portend the largest class action lawsuit in the history of mankind. The lonely hero of this story is an unlikely one: Quest Communications, which declined to participate in the NSA’s massive fishing expedition.
The NSA told Qwest that other government agencies, including the FBI, CIA and DEA, also might have access to the database, the sources said. As a matter of practice, the NSA regularly shares its information —known as “product” in intelligence circles —with other intelligence groups. Even so, Qwest’s lawyers were troubled by the expansiveness of the NSA request, the sources said.
To recap: Unless you’re a Qwest customer, the feds now have a log record of every phone call you’ve made in the last several years —to your mom, your doctor, your lover, your shrink, your dealer, your bookie, your whatever —a database that is accessible to every law enforcement agency under the sun.
Big Brother Bush is watching. Get your ACLU membership here.