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.
First of all, this is frightening. There is no reason that the government should be paying any attention to innocent Americans. Once again, the GOP is showing that it hates everything that America stands for, continuing to piss on the Constitution and wipe their collective asses with our freedoms.
The three carriers control vast networks with the latest communications technologies. They provide an array of services: local and long-distance calling, wireless and high-speed broadband, including video. Their direct access to millions of homes and businesses has them uniquely positioned to help the government keep tabs on the calling habits of Americans.
Among the big telecommunications companies, only Qwest has refused to help the NSA, the sources said. According to multiple sources, Qwest declined to participate because it was uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants.
Qwest's refusal to participate has left the NSA with a hole in its database. Based in Denver, Qwest provides local phone service to 14 million customers in 14 states in the West and Northwest. But AT&T and Verizon also provide some services — primarily long-distance and wireless — to people who live in Qwest's region. Therefore, they can provide the NSA with at least some access in that area.
It’s important to add that these companies are doing this voluntarily. If ever there was a reason to change phone companies, it would definitely be this. When a company voluntarily gives my call information to the government, it’s time to tell them to hit the door. My personal privacy is much, much too important.
It’s obvious that this NSA program is nothing like Bush has promised that it is. These are calls that take place within the US only, between people who aren’t suspected of anything. This administration has shut down any investigation into this program, so I don’t expect anything to come of this. With Republicans in complete control, our government is allowed to get away with these anti-American atrocities, leaving every American helpless against the growingly intrusive and illegal body that governs our country.
It’s time for people to wake up.
Update 1: Arlen Specter is calling for hearings to look into this.