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Dear Leader's keeping you safe

NSA has massive database of Americans’ phone calls.

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T;, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

You’ve probably heard about this fun news elsewhere, but here’s a thread if you want to comment on your President’s latest effort to ensure your safety in the Global War on Terror.

I love the little Q&A; that is provided by USA Today. A snippet:

Q: Does the NSA’s domestic program mean that my calling records have been secretly collected?
A: In all likelihood, yes. The NSA collected the records of billions of domestic calls. Those include calls from home phones and wireless phones.

Q: What was the NSA doing?
A: The NSA collected “call-detail” records. That’s telephone industry lingo for the numbers being dialed. Phone customers’ names, addresses and other personal information are not being collected as part of this program. The agency, however, has the means to assemble that sort of information, if it so chooses.

Q: Can I find out if my call records were collected?
A: No. The NSA’s work is secret, and the agency won’t publicly discuss its operations.

Q: Why did they do this?
A: The agency won’t say officially. But sources say it was a way to identify, and monitor, people suspected of terrorist activities.

Q: But I’m not calling terrorists. Why do they need my calls?
A: By cross-checking a vast database of phone calling records, NSA experts can try to pick out patterns that help identify people involved in terrorism.

Q: Is this legal?
A: That will be a matter of debate. In the past, law enforcement officials had to obtain a court warrant before getting calling records. Telecommunications law assesses hefty fines on phone companies that violate customer privacy by divulging such records without warrants. But in discussing the eavesdropping program last December, Bush said he has the authority to order the NSA to get information without court warrants.

Entertaining, huh?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding