I am sure that I am not the only one who dislikes this:
“WASHINGTON (AP) — The government has been secretly collecting records of ordinary Americans’ phone calls in an effort to build a database of every call made within the country, it was reported Thursday.
AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth telephone companies began turning over records of tens of millions of their customers’ phone calls to the National Security Agency program shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said USA Today, citing anonymous sources it said had direct knowledge of the arrangement.
The White House defended its overall eavesdropping program and said no domestic surveillance is conducted without court approval.
“The intelligence activities undertaken by the United States government are lawful, necessary and required to protect Americans from terrorist attacks,” said Dana Perino, the deputy White House press secretary, who added that appropriate members of Congress have been briefed on intelligence activities.
On Capitol Hill, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he would call the phone companies to appear before the panel “to find out exactly what is going on.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the panel, sounded incredulous about the program and railed against what he called a lack of congressional oversight. He argued that the media was doing the job of Congress.
“Are you telling me that tens of millions of Americans are involved with al Qaeda?” Leahy asked. “These are tens of millions of Americans who are not suspected of anything … Where does it stop?
The Democrat, who at one point held up a copy of the newspaper, added: “Shame on us for being so far behind and being so willing to rubber stamp anything this administration does. We ought to fold our tents.”
The program does not involve listening to or taping the calls. Instead it documents who talks to whom in personal and business calls, whether local or long distance, by tracking which numbers are called, the newspaper said.”