Why the NSA tracking phone calls matters.

Ever since USA Today broke the story on the major phone companies turning over phone call data to the NSA some folks have wondered what the big deal is. The simplistic argument of “if you’re not a terrorist you have nothing to worry about” has reared its ugly head yet again. The problem with such databases, though, is that once you have it you’re inclined to use it for stuff other than what it was originally intended for. Stuff like finding out who’s leaking news to the press:

A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we call in an effort to root out confidential sources.

“It’s time for you to get some new cell phones, quick,” the source told us in an in-person conversation.

ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

The CIA is certainly not happy with some of the news stories that have come out lately not to mention the Bush Administration in general so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find out they were data mining the phone calls of various journalists in an attempt to figure out who’s blowing the whistle.

Meanwhile Fox News again displays their “unfair and unbalanced” stance during a report on the stock market by calling the anonymous whistle blower who broke the phone call database story “a puny little traitor.”

RUDER: Many thought this was the week the Dow would hit an all-time high. We seemed well on our way and looked like Thursday could be the day. Well guess what? Then came the headlines in yesterday’s papers. A leak about national security. The president saying the country is less safe and stocks sell off big-time. A coincidence? So when national security is compromised, how closesly does Wall Street watch? With us now, the Cost-of-Freedom All-Stars, we’ve got Brenda Butler, she starts it off on Saturdays, the host of Bulls and Bears, along with Stormin-Mike Norman and Charles Payne. So Mike, a coincidence? I don’t think so.

RUDER: We saved the best for last. Brenda?

BUTLER: Let me tell you something. Wall Street knows, we are winning this war on terror. They are not afraid that we will win it. They are so secure in President Bush’s winning it, they are not going to let some puny, little traitor, some leaker who went ahead and compromised our national security, take down this, take down our market, take down our country, there is no way.

RUDER: Do you like this guy? I am not sure.

BUTLER: There is no way this is going to happen. Absolutely.

Hat tip to Think Progress.

6 thoughts on “Why the NSA tracking phone calls matters.

  1. The Bush administration has increasingly justified the more paranoid libertarian views I hold.  If they can weed out the people whistle blowing their BS, just think what else they’d do. 

    “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you”

  2. For those who say they have nothing to fear because they’ve done nothing wrong, suck it.

    All it takes is for you to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and BigBro can have your piddly butt in the clink at Gitmo, no formal charges, no lawyer, no constitutional protections, no nothing. If Gitmo is too good for you, then one of our overseas camps run by freedom-loving Syria, etc. will be happy to make up a concrete slab for your yearlong stay.

    Think it won’t happen to you? Why not? They’ve already released several prisoners (Shafiq Rasul, Abdurahman Khadr, Mehdi Ghezali, Moazzam Begg, Feroz Abbasi, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar, to name a few) who they decided weren’t really terrorists after all. Too bad those guys lost several years of their lives being locked up for nothing, but we’re “at war” so all’s fair, right?

    When do the De-Bushification pogroms start, again?

  3. I read the article on ABC news; the comments were truly horrifying, as most of them were along the lines of “They should lock all you commies up for selling America out and shoot the whistleblowers as traitors.”  “If even one soldier dies as a result of your reporting you should burn in hell forever.”

    What happened to the idea of the press as the protector of our liberties?  How did this, not even “my country, right or wrong” but “the government of my country is always right” mentality take hold?

    What the Faithful don’t seem to realize, I believe, is that everybody knows somebody who the government worries about.  Your cousin, who worked for the blasting company and bitches about taxes.  Your gay uncle who always votes democratic and insists he has a right to get married.  Your child, who protested the war.
    After the next attack, when they start bringing in the unusual suspects, sooner or later they are going to want to talk to you, just to make sure you can really be trusted, or to see if there’s anyone you want to tell them about.  Because when it happens, you don’t want to be one of Them.
    You really, really don’t.

  4. What makes you think that it was originally intended to find terrorists?  It’s obviously useless for that purpose; even intelligence professionals say so.  Spying on the President’s domestic political enemies is the *goal*; finding terrorists is the feeble public justification.

    Just a few years ago, that would have sounded unreasonably paranoid to me.  Maybe to some of you it still does; do you want to wait a few *more* years and see what it sounds like to you then?

    Bush isn’t a neoconservative, he’s a neofascist.

  5. Like I’ve been saying for years, Bush&Co are worst of Hitler and Stalin sugarcoated with Mussolini.

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