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 Ã¢â‚¬â€ most of whom aren’t suspected of any crime.
Then why are they doing it?
This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations.
Oh right, I sure believe that, don’t you?
But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.
“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.
How will tracking every phone calls that granny makes aid in stopping terrorism? Answer, it won’t. Nor can that volume of data be put into a database accurately, on a daily basis, and be retrievable and searchable as needed and quickly. This is just more of the US government’s predilection for attempting to solve problems by massive use of technology rather than on-the-ground intel and footwork.
The same great minds that said the US could win in Vietnam and Iraq with airpower alone are the same minds that decided a super whizz-bang computer tracking phone calls is a substitute for the dangerous gruntwork of actually finding out what ‘terrorists’ might be doing.Ã‚Â (Some might say they’d just need to look in a mirror to find terrorists, but I digress.)
A system like this is ripe for abuse and can of course be used to slime and destroy political opponents. Checks and balances? There aren’t any.