Well, they So-Called Unbiased Media is getting closer to the truth. Charlie Savage of the BoGlobe:
The National Security Agency, in carrying out President Bush's order to intercept the international phone calls and e-mails of Americans suspected of links to Al Qaeda, has probably been using computers to monitor all other Americans' international communications as well, according to specialists familiar with the workings of the NSA....specialists said the agency serves as a vast data collection and sorting operation. It captures reams of data from satellites, fiberoptic lines, and Internet switching stations, and then uses a computer to check for names, numbers, and words that have been identified as suspicious.
...Yale Law School professor Jack Balkin said that Fourth Amendment privacy rights can still be violated without human contact if the NSA stores copies of everyone's messages, raising the possibility that a human could access them later. The administration has not revealed how long the NSA stores messages, and the agency has refused to comment on the program. [General] Hayden, now the deputy director of national intelligence, told reporters this week that under Bush's order, a "shift supervisor" instead of a judge signs off on deciding whether or not to search for an American's messages.
So, we've established that the NSA intercepts massive numbers of messages, may store messages it has no right to see, and is breaking the law by using a "shift supervisor" instead of a judge to decide who to wiretap.
But there's another shoe to drop, and that's what is happening to domestic-domestic calls.
We quoted Martin Garbus on this many posts ago. He says they're being illegally tapped, too. And they're almost certainly being processed en masse, scanned and stored without proper controls, just like every other message.
Someday, you'll read that in the newspaper you pay hundreds of dollars for.
Postscript: In Michael Scherer's notably flabby Salon piece, Crypto Man
, he does manage to come up with the code name for the program that "monitored the communications of Vietnam War protesters like Joan Baez and Jane Fonda:" Minaret. He also gives a good quote: If you want to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens, you go to court. If you don't, you go to jail," Bamford says. "If you want to change the law, you go to Congress."