Saturday, December 24, 2005


The Holiday Dump ... On Your Liberties

For newswatchers, Thanksgiving to New Year is the busiest season of the year. You can count on it.Every Friday, every holiday, news that would embarass the Bush Administration if it weren't the Bush Administration gets dumped (Lichtblau and Risen in the NYT, for those who don't have AOL: The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said. It was collected by tapping directly into some of the American telecommunication system's main arteries, they said....What has not been publicly acknowledged is that N.S.A. technicians, besides actually eavesdropping on specific conversations, have combed through large volumes of phone and Internet traffic in search of patterns that might point to terrorism suspects. Or it might point to radical militant librarians, vociferous vegans, or quiet Quakers. A former technology manager at a major telecommunications company said that since the Sept. 11 attacks, the leading companies in the industry have been storing information on calling patterns and giving it to the federal government to aid in tracking possible terrorists. This solves the government's little problem on being forbidden to "collect" data or retain it longer than 90 days. They let the phone company do it for them. And if the Bushco privatizes the snooping function, he thinks he can blame any excesses on Halliburton or whoever gets the contract. This is very, very dangerous stuff. Perfect for a holiday dump.
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