Rep.Mike Rogers(R-MI) is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He went public on one of the Sunday shows today, saying that the NSA's surveillance program was just dandy, stopped 'dozens of plots' (which of course no one can recall or name a single one) and that there was a lot of what he called “misleading rhetoric,” including reports that the NSA was listening to phone calls. He called the program a “lockbox” with “lots of protections.”
Too bad for Rep. Rogers that at he wasn't paying attention. Just the day before, the NSA was admitting that they did in fact listen to phone calls..without any warrants whatsoever. And simply on the say so of one 'analyst':
The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls, a participant said.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed on Thursday that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed "simply based on an analyst deciding that."
If the NSA wants "to listen to the phone," an analyst's decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. "I was rather startled," said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.
Not only does this disclosure shed more light on how the NSA's formidable eavesdropping apparatus works domestically, it also suggests the Justice Department has secretly interpreted federal surveillance law to permit thousands of low-ranking analysts to eavesdrop on phone calls.
Not only that, but there's little or no oversight over who has access to the private data on American citizens that been stored digitally...perhaps for later use against the Obama regime's political enemies, just as the IRS was.
Earlier reports have indicated that the NSA has the ability to record nearly all domestic and international phone calls -- in case an analyst needed to access the recordings in the future. A Wired magazine article last year disclosed that the NSA has established "listening posts" that allow the agency to collect and sift through billions of phone calls through a massive new data center in Utah, "whether they originate within the country or overseas." That includes not just metadata, but also the contents of the communications.
William Binney, a former NSA technical director who helped to modernize the agency's worldwide eavesdropping network, told the Daily Caller this week that the NSA records the phone calls of 500,000 to 1 million people who are on its so-called target list, and perhaps even more. "They look through these phone numbers and they target those and that's what they record," Binney said.
Brewster Kahle, a computer engineer who founded the Internet Archive, has vast experience storing large amounts of data. He created a spreadsheet this week estimating that the cost to store all domestic phone calls a year in cloud storage for data-mining purposes would be about $27 million per year, not counting the cost of extra security for a top-secret program and security clearances for the people involved.