"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.The White House, apparently sensing more immediately pending doom than in any previous point in this entire six-month NSA wiretapping story arc, trotted W hisself out to explain exactly what's going on here.
Making a hastily scheduled appearance in the White House, Mr. Bush did not directly address the collection of phone records, except to say that "new claims" had been raised about surveillance. He said all intelligence work was conducted "within the law" and that domestic conversations were not listened to without a court warrant.
"The privacy of all Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities," he said. "Our efforts are focused on Al Qaeda and their known associates."
Okay... compiling a database of all telephone calls made within the borders of the US, by all of the citizens who are of phone-calling age, suggests upwards of 250 million known AQ associates, does it not? And if the government doesn't really suspect all of us MoviePhone dialers of being terrorist collaborators, well, excuse me, but what the fuck? W asserts no data mining will take place. So they're simply collecting the phone records for fun, then, no? Like stamps, or butterflies, or heads on pikes.
The confirmation hearings for the new CIA chief should be very interesting in light of this, especially given the fact--should the nomination not be withdrawn--that Michael Hayden has demonstrated either a fundamental misunderstanding or deliberate misconstruing of exactly what the Fourth Amendment contains.