The Lady Speaks

Hello NSA! F**k you Verizon!

Gee whiz, wouldn't ya know? The NSA has a giant database of phone call records – given to it by AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth. The only company that didn't cooperate by giving out it's customer database was Qwest.

Not that this is news. We all knew this. It's just that we have proof now.

From Reuters:

The agency in charge of a domestic spying program has been secretly collecting phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, including calls made within the United States, USA Today reported on Thursday.

It said the National Security Agency has been building up the database using records provided by three major phone companies — AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. — but that the program “does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations.” [Oh, really? You sure about that? –Jenn]

[snip]

Defending the controversial program, President Bush and his administration officials have said it aims to uncover links between international terrorists and their domestic collaborators and only targets communications between a person inside the United States and a person overseas.

[snip]

But USA Today said that calls originating and terminating within the United States have not escaped the NSA’s attention.

“It’s the largest database ever assembled in the world,” the paper quoted one source as saying. The agency’s goal is “to create a database of every call ever made” within U.S. borders, it said the source added.

The NSA has “access to records of billions of domestic calls,” USA Today said. Although customers’ names and addresses are not being handed over, “the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information,” it said. [emphasis mine]

And here's the kicker:

Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, who headed the NSA from 1999 to 2005 and was nominated by Bush on Monday as director of the CIA, would have overseen the call-tracking program, the paper said.

And, may I say again – F**k you, Verizon! Bastards! It's not enough that you give me lousy home and cell service at outrageous prices, you just happily hand over my records, too?

* *

Update: ( 2:11pm) Here's the direct link to Leslie Cauley's story in USA Today, which says:

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.

[snip]

For the customers of these companies, it means that the government has detailed records of calls they made — across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others.

[snip]

Sources, however, say that is not the case. With access to records of billions of domestic calls, the NSA has gained a secret window into the communications habits of millions of Americans. Customers' names, street addresses and other personal information are not being handed over as part of NSA's domestic program, the sources said. But the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information.

[snip]

One major telecommunications company declined to participate in the program: Qwest.

According to sources familiar with the events, Qwest's CEO at the time, Joe Nacchio, was deeply troubled by the NSA's assertion that Qwest didn't need a court order — or approval under FISA — to proceed. Adding to the tension, Qwest was unclear about who, exactly, would have access to its customers' information and how that information might be used.

Financial implications were also a concern, the sources said. Carriers that illegally divulge calling information can be subjected to heavy fines. The NSA was asking Qwest to turn over millions of records. The fines, in the aggregate, could have been substantial.

The NSA told Qwest that other government agencies, including the FBI, CIA and DEA, also might have access to the database, the sources said. As a matter of practice, the NSA regularly shares its information — known as “product” in intelligence circles — with other intelligence groups. Even so, Qwest's lawyers were troubled by the expansiveness of the NSA request, the sources said.

The NSA, which needed Qwest's participation to completely cover the country, pushed back hard.

Trying to put pressure on Qwest, NSA representatives pointedly told Qwest that it was the lone holdout among the big telecommunications companies. It also tried appealing to Qwest's patriotic side: In one meeting, an NSA representative suggested that Qwest's refusal to contribute to the database could compromise national security, one person recalled.

In addition, the agency suggested that Qwest's foot-dragging might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government. Like other big telecommunications companies, Qwest already had classified contracts and hoped to get more.

Unable to get comfortable with what NSA was proposing, Qwest's lawyers asked NSA to take its proposal to the FISA court. According to the sources, the agency refused.

Go Qwest!

And, once more with emotion: F**k you Verizon!

Advertisements

May 11, 2006 - Posted by | Bush, Congress, Constitution, Domestic Spying, Government, Homeland Security, Intelligence, Law, NSA, Politics, Republicans

2 Comments »

  1. Lets all quit the big 3 telecommunications services and go to qwest at least we know there on the consumers side

    Comment by Bob | May 11, 2006 | Reply

  2. If it weren’t for the fact that the phone companies have a monopoly on local service, I’d do just that with my home phone. As for my cell, I’ll be looking into other options.

    I do plan to call Verizon tomorrow to tell them what I think they can do with the bill they just sent me! 🙂

    Comment by PA_Lady | May 11, 2006 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: