Critics Outraged By NSA’s Phone-Record Database


A massive National Security Agency database containing the phone records of tens of millions of Americans marks the modern intersection of two powerful emerging forces: terrorism and technology, says USA Today. “It’s an issue of our times – a huge issue,” said Clayton Northouse, editor of “Protecting What Matters: Technology, Security, and Liberty since 9/11,” On Capitol Hill, Democrats expressed outrage over the secret project, and some leading Republicans expressed concern. “Are you telling me tens of millions of Americans are involved with al-Qaeda?” said Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. “These are tens of millions of Americans who are not suspected of anything.”

Committee chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said he would call executives from AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth – the companies that supplied to the NSA their records on calls made from millions of homes, businesses, and government offices – “to find out exactly what is going on.” Critics questioned whether the administration’s warrantless programs violate the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which bars “unreasonable searches and seizures” and requires warrants for searches, as well as the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that established the secret court. Harold Koh, dean of Yale Law School, said, “If they had gone to Congress and said, ‘We want to do this without probable cause, without warrants and without judicial review,’ it never would have been approved.”


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