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Friday, May 12, 2006

Can you hear me now, Mr President?

I was so busy yesterday that I only caught a hint of USA Today's report confirming that the National Security Administration is collecting information about every phone call made in the United States without a warrant or explicit legal authorization beyond President Bush's say-so. (The penumbra of his rights is glorious to behold.) Because I'm still catching up, I'm posting links to the coverage before I've had a chance to read it all — something I don't normally do — and I'm likely to expand this post as I learn more. From the Q&A sidebar in USA Today:

Q: Is this legal?

A: That will be a matter of debate. In the past, law enforcement officials had to obtain a court warrant before getting calling records. Telecommunications law assesses hefty fines on phone companies that violate customer privacy by divulging such records without warrants. But in discussing the eavesdropping program last December, Bush said he has the authority to order the NSA to get information without court warrants.

Here's what I'm going to be reading more thoroughly later today:

NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls (Leslie Cauley, USA Today 5.10.06)
NSA secret database report triggers fierce debate in Washington (Susan Page, USA Today 5.11.06)
Bush says privacy protected; sources tell of 'spider web' use (John Diamond and David Jackson, USA Today 5.11.06)
'Climate has changed' for data privacy (Paul Davidson, USA Today 5.11.06)
Gathering data may not violate privacy rights, but it could be illegal (Joan Biskupic, USA Today 5.12.06)
Phone company that refused to comply was concerned about illegality (John O'Neil and Eric Lichtblau, New York Times 5.12.06)

The story keeps developing:

Cheney pushed U.S. to widen eavesdropping, Scott Shane and Eric Lichtblau, New York Times 5.14.06

And here's some background reading, since we've had hints about the extent of the NSA's domestic intelligence gathering for a while:

Taking spying to higher level, agencies look for more ways to mine data (John Markoff, New York Times 2.25.06)
Spy agency mined vast data trove, officials report (James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, New York Times 12.24.05)
Bush lets U.S. spy on callers without courts (James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, New York Times 12.16.05)

Copyright © 2006 by Philocrites | Posted 12 May 2006 at 8:05 AM

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May 16, 2006 10:19 AM | Permalink for this comment

BellSouth now says it didn't provide information to the NSA. Dan Kennedy collects links to coverage by the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today as well as BellSouth's press release.

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