NSA Stymies Justice Dept. Spying ProbeNow, fairly innocuous story, right? But think about this: Congress is not given authority to investigate a program that affects tens of millions, and eventually hundreds of millions, of American citizens who have done no wrong.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the necessary security clearance to probe the matter.
The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR, sent a fax to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., on Wednesday saying they were closing their inquiry because without clearance their lawyers cannot examine Justice lawyers' role in the program.
``We have been unable to make any meaningful progress in our investigation because OPR has been denied security clearances for access to information about the NSA program,'' OPR counsel H. Marshall Jarrett wrote to Hinchey. Hinchey's office shared the letter with The Associated Press.
Report: NSA Has Call Data On MillionsOK, scary, but here's what REALLY scary...
WASHINGTON, May 11, 2006
(CBS/AP) 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, a newspaper reports Thursday.
The government has amassed detailed records of calls of ordinary Americans —across town or across the country — to family members, co-workers, business contacts and others, according to a USA TODAY report.
The newspaper reports that while the NSA program amassed the data, this program does not involve the NSA actually listening to or recording conversations, the newspaper reports. According to USA TODAY's sources, the NSA is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity.
The three telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA, which launched the program in 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, sources told USA TODAY. The newspaper adds that its sources say Qwest has refused to aid the NSA because it was uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants.
The newspaper notes that its report of the NSA's call-tracking is far more expansive than what the White House previously acknowledged. Last year, President Bush said he had authorized the NSA to eavesdrop — without warrants — on international calls and international e-mails of people suspected of having links to terrorists when one party to the communication is in the USA.So we have a rogue agency, under neither control of the executive branch nor oversight by Congress, casually culling your phone records. Mine. Your mother's. All because one of us *might* have called someone who is five degrees separated from Osama bin Laden.
Thanks a lot, Republicans!
Bush Doesn't Confirm NSA Data CollectionWell, tens of millions of Americans can't be wrong, Mr. Bush. Where do I sign up for Al Qaeda training?
By LAURIE KELLMAN
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush did not confirm or deny a newspaper report Thursday that the National Security Agency was collecting records of tens of millions of ordinary Americans' phone calls.
``Our intelligence activities strictly target al-Qaida and their known affiliates,'' Bush said. ``We are not mining or trolling through the personal lives of innocent Americans.''
snarkasm, snarcasm, snarky