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The Gravest Assault on Privacy in U.S. History

Late coming to the story about the NSA’s massive telephone record collection program? The Washington Post does a 360-degree report.

  • Neither Bush nor his aides denied any facts in the original USA Today story.
  • Senate Intel Chair Pat Roberts wants to shoot the messenger (USA Today).
  • Bush’s pick for CIA chief, Gen. Michael Hayden, oversaw this program at the NSA, a fact that guarantees fireworks at his confirmation hearing.
  • Check out the original story.

  • Washington Post:

    The Bush administration has secretly been collecting the domestic telephone records of millions of U.S. households and businesses, assembling gargantuan databases and attempting to sift through them for clues about terrorist threats, according to sources with knowledge of the program.

    The “call detail records” enable U.S. intelligence agencies to track who calls whom, and when, but do not include the contents of conversations, the sources said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the program. The companies cooperating with the National Security Agency dominate the U.S. telecommunications market and connect hundreds of billions of telephone calls each year. Intelligence analysts are seeking to mine their records to expose hidden connections and details of social networks, hoping to find signs of terrorist plots in the vast sea of innocent contacts.

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