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Is NSA Confiscation of Phone Records the Last Straw?

05.16.2006 09:08 | DISPATCHES

Have Bush & Co driven the final nail into their own coffins by authorizing the NSA to confiscate phone records? Is this the final outrage that will establish the impetus for impeachment?

The jury's out. In the May 12 The Boston Globe, Bruce Mohl wrote:

"Those interviewed yesterday overwhelmingly said the possibility of phone companies handing over records to the government didn't alarm them and wouldn't make them walk away from any of the companies."

Also on May 12, a Washington Post/ABC survey revealed that 63% of Americans had no objections to the NSA collecting phone records. On the other hand, Newsweek found that 53% believed that the NSA was going too far. Editor and Publisher speculated that the first poll was conducted before the public had begun to understand the implications of the NSA program.

Perhaps, though, those who have no problems with NSA spying are simply of the opinion that the NSA will do little with those records but be overwhelmed by them. This from Noah Schachtman of

"A leading practitioner of the kind of analysis the NSA is supposedly performing in this surveillance program says that 'it's a waste of time, a waste of resources. And it lets the real terrorists run free.'"

"[Vladimir Krebs said] 'If you're looking for a needle, making the haystack bigger is counterintuitive. It just doesn't make sense.'"

Shachtman also quotes John Robb of Global Guerillas:

"Some top level thinking indicates that this will quickly become a rat hole for federal funds. . ."

It's bad enough that Bush & Co. aren't getting their money's worth tracking down terrorists. But they're not even succeeding in scaring Americans into thinking that they're in danger of being rounded up if they oppose the administration.


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