Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Press and our Telephones

USA Today evidently has a good source within the NSA. The newspaper reported today that the NSA is keeping records and a database of domestic phone numbers and what numbers call what other numbers. Although the agency says they are not tracking individuals, unless your number is unlisted Google is pretty good at tracking you down.

No prediction is needed about the fallout, because lawmakers are already whining and seething about the newest leak. Further, as the White House says:

Senior administration officials said the number of members of Congress who have been briefed on "the totality of NSA operations" has been expanded in recent months. Without confirming the existence of the program, the officials suggested it would be disingenuous for members of the Legislature to act surprised about its existence."

Just the same with the wiretapping program - it's not like members of the Senate Intelligence Committee didn't know about it...

Anyway, is this really a big deal? Can't I call Verizon or AT&T and request someone's phone records? Can't anyone find out who I've been calling? Who cares if the NSA does it? Finally and most notably:

The leak about the NSA appears designed to put pressure on the nomination of Hayden, a career intelligence official with the Air Force.

Oh, yea! General Hayden was in charge of the NSA during this time, and he was nominated to head up the CIA, and the same day he was going to meet with lawmakers this story is published...

I think, if you didn't already know it, that the media is a literal political presence anymore - knowledgeable, willing, and capable of manipulating public opinion and politicians toward specific aims.

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