Tuesday, May 16, 2006

More thoughts on phone records

There are some new developments on the NSA records-compiling operation today. It turns out that BellSouth contends that a thorough review of their records show that they gave no information whatsoever to the NSA. Not only does this report nullify a great deal of USA Today's story, it brings into perspective the idea that all of the media's "anonymous sources" are an obviously poor way to gather and disseminate information.

Further, BellSouth explains that they have received 26 complaints out of 20 million customers about the supposed NSA program. This number is not exactly high, and you can understand why. Considering that phone companies sell the lists of calls you make to what phone numbers to other companies all the time one would wonder how a person could be upset about giving those same lists to the government. In the name of profit, but not in the name of security?

Update: Hysteria on the prowl from our friends at Daily Kos. There they posted a bit of an interview from a supposed NSA expert:

We should be terrified that Congress has not been doing its job and because all of the checks and balances put in place to prevent this have been deliberately obviated.


I'm convinced that 20 years from now we, as historians, will be looking back at this as one of the darkest eras in American history.

The darkest day in American history? The day when information that phone companies keep on its customers that is routinely bought and sold for profit or information-gathering purposes was collected by the government for the purposes of thwarting terrorism? We should be terrified? Are you kidding me?

Let's not forget that members of congress from both parties knew about this and probably other secret (aka soon to be exposed by the New York Times) activities by government agencies. If this is so horrible why didn't they speak up? Why don't they? This article claims that members of congress "couldn't" bring any of these topics up in front of committees or even their own staff. Why?

This whole story is one of the largest "Much ado about nothing" stories in a long time.

"Outrage" outlook forecast is high with a chance of "Bush lied."

Update II: What? I'm watching the news now and reports are in that Verizon has also made a statement that they, as BellSouth has claimed, released no records whatsoever to the NSA. Does that mean that US Today can't win a Pulitzer now?

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