The NSA call pattern tracking efforts are really a tempest in a teapot, and similar efforts have gone on a long time. There is much misreporting going on at USA today, either from ignorance or from a suspect “unidentified source”. I think the media recognizes that most americans aren’t upset by this, but the operative word is “yet” as already expressed on-air by ABC am affiliate news and a couple of other places.
What the “Yet” means is that NYT will undoubtably be running a story per day on the NSA efforts above the fold on the front page. They will likely position it next to the breaking stories on Kyle “Dusty” Fogo’s potential involvement in the Duke Cunningham and Limogate scandals, just to keep their readers interests piqued. None in the media will shut up about this for the next two months, simply because everything else is going on well. There’s not a lot of panic-mongering they can pepper their ever-shrinking paranoid subscriber base with to make them buy their rags.
Senator Pat Roberts, who speaks with the authority of having been briefed on the NSA program, and who knows the details responds to the stories here. Senator Roberts is from my state, is part of the legal oversite of the program, and I trust his judgement on the matter.
The USA article mistates a few things, such as it being “the largest Database in the world” — highly unlikely that the government beats Yahoo or Google, who both cooperate with foreign communist governments to stifle dissent. They also fail to mention the wireless number portability database, an all-carrier, all-phone-numbers period database that is run by a private company, but which has oversite by federal agencies. This database has not only the numbers, but who has them, and where they live, and it’s gone pretty unremarked for years. USA mentions the Shamrock program that led to the FISA law, but they fail to mention Echelon, which was far grander than this and actually monitored content under the Democratically controlled Senate, House, and executive branch.