May 11, 2006
Big Brother is back again and this time he's keeping tabs on calls made by average everyday Americans across the country without you even knowing it. The USA Today is reporting the National Security Agency has been secretly collecting phone records of millions of Americans, including calls made within the United States.
According to the article, the NSA has been building a database of who people are calling, not to listen to their calls, but to analyze the patterns to see if they are attempting to contact a known terrorist.
The report said AT&T, Verizon AND BellSouth started turning over their records to the NSA right after September 11, 2001. Even so, the Thomas Jefferson Center for Free Expression said it's a violation of privacy.
"We see this as a very serious threat to free expression," said Robert O'Niel of the Thomas Jefferson Center for Free Expression. "Because if you don't know who's listening, then you're obviously going to be reluctant to say certain things you might feel free to say if you assumed the conversation was entirely private."
One phone company, Qwest, refused to cooperate. USA Today said all of this was done without a court order.
President Bush is not confirming or denying the report. Bush insists his administration has done nothing wrong and Americans' privacy is "fiercely protected."