See - We told you so. The hubris of Obama and his liberal Gestapo is apparently without bounds.
See what they're doing here? It is all for national; security.
Ask Susan Rice - she'll give you the real scoop. A scoop of what is the only question
Obama Defends Phone-Record Tracking as 'Critical Tool'
WASHINGTON—The Obama administration called government review of complete phone records of U.S. customers a "critical tool" in protecting the public from terrorists.
The information "allows counterterrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States," a senior Obama administration official said Thursday. The official stopped short of confirming the practice.
Former officials described the practice after a published account on the gathering of complete phone records from all Verizon U.S. customers, including landline and wireless accounts, was published Wednesday.
The official said all three branches of government are involved in reviewing the collection of data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The official said intelligence gathering under the law would be subject to strict controls and procedures.
In a rare test of a tool expanded in the U.S. Patriot Act, a telecom company is fighting the government's use of a secretive tool called a national security letter to get access to customer records without a court order.
WSJ's Jennifer Valentino-DeVries reports.
The telephone-data collection is likely to prompt outrage from privacy groups and others about the Obama administration's efforts to fight terrorism. It comes as the administration is separately under fire for collecting phone and other records from journalists as part of investigations into the leaking of classified information.
Verizon is required to provide the National Security Agency with "all call detail records" of customers, including all local and long-distance calls within the U.S., as well as calls between the U.S. and overseas, according to a court order labeled "top secret" published Wednesday by the Guardian newspaper.
The senior Obama administration official said, "On its face, the order reprinted in the article does not allow the government to listen in on anyone's telephone calls." This person said the information doesn't include the content of calls or the names of any subscriber, but "relates exclusively to metadata, such as a telephone number or the length of a call."
Verizon officials declined to say whether the order appearing on the Guardian's website is authentic. Verizon's traditional landline business connects about one billion calls a day. The company has nearly 100 million retail customers. Verizon spokesman Ed McFadden declined to comment, as did officials with the NSA.
Lawyers continue to debate whether collecting so-called metadata is an invasion of privacy. The FISA order depicted by the Guardian shows the government is obtaining the information under a secret order, which would give it stronger legal foundation. The order doesn't provide any legal reasoning as to why such extensive data collection wouldn't be an unreasonable search or seizure.
The document in question is described as an "order requiring the production of tangible things."
In 2005, Congress said the standard for obtaining such records from businesses was "a statement of facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the tangible things sought are relevant to" an international terrorism investigation.
The standards required for such orders have drawn criticism from civil-liberties groups because they are below the standard for search warrants, usually defined as "probable cause" to believe a crime has occurred.
In the wake of the 2005 revelation of the NSA's warrantless-surveillance program, Congress for three years debated the legality of NSA's surveillance, though that debate focused largely on the activity the government admitted to, which was monitoring calls between the U.S. and abroad.
Story from The Wall Street Journal.