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Thursday, May 11th 2006

The Last of Privacy

I don’t care how much history it has behind it, I don’t care that they don’t know the content of the calls, this NSA program, if this is accurate, is outrageous.

“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, this person added.

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.

It is outrageous that there is a database out there with info on how many 1-900 calls I’ve made! (j/k) Also, USA Today actually broke a story? Isn’t this the newspaper written at the 7th grade level so everyone can read it?

*UPDATE* At least moderate Republican chairman Arlen Specter is on it.

*UPDATE* Sen. Trent Lott does what President Bush won’t; confirms NSA program.

The U.S. National Security Agency has obtained the phone records of millions of Americans in an effort to stop terrorists, a Senate Intelligence Committee member confirmed.

Senator Trent Lott, a Mississippi Republican, told reporters he was briefed on the program and said the U.S. needs “to use modern technological tools” to defeat terrorists.

*UPDATE* A lack of denial is a confirmation but Bush says any domestic spying he’s authorized is lawful.

Bush did not confrim the report that AT&T Corp., Verizon Communications Inc., and BellSouth Corp. began turning over records to the NSA shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as USA Today reported based on anonymous sources it said had direct knowledge of the arrangement.

“Our intelligence activities strictly target al-Qaida and their known affiliates,” Bush said. “We are not mining or trolling through the personal lives of innocent Americans.”