USA Today Confirms Bush Has Been Spying On Millions Of Domestic Phone Calls Without Court Oversight
The other shoe drops.
In tomorrow's edition, USA Today breaks the story we have all suspected. Bush's NSA, under the direction of one Michael Hayden approached the major telecommunication companies in the days after 9/11 and persuaded them to grant the NSA access to all domestic telephone calls in a massive data mining operation that has been going on for years now. Only one company refused to play ball: Qwest, which thought that there were legal issues in doing this without probable cause.
After the NSA and Bush Administration threatened Qwest, the company told the NSA that it wanted the matter referred to the FISA court to determine the legality of the program before continuing any further negotiations with the Bush Administration. Failing that, Qwest wanted a letter from the Justice Department confirming the legal basis for the NSA domestic data mining program.
In both cases, the Bush Administration refused, and Qwest discontinued negotiations. To this day Qwest is the only hold-out among major telecommunication firms to stand up to the federal government.
I will now anxiously await Dianne Feinstein's response on this, as well as that of any Senate Democrat who was planning to give Hayden a pass on this. It is one thing for Bush to say that the wiretaps were only conducted on phone calls and emails that had one international party who was an Al Qaeda suspect. It is quite another to find out that the Administration has been gathering information on all of your phone calls inside the United States without probable cause and without being accountable to any court as to what they need this information for.
The class-action suits should be real doozies.