The NSA breaking story is not so breaking: In 2006 under the Bush administration the same story broke

While Republicans took no issue with the PATRIOT Act under George W. Bush, suddenly they’re alarmed that it’s used under the Obama administration. The ‘breaking’ story of the NSA  collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order is actually not so new. What is alarming is that the PATRIOT Act continues today without more scrutiny.












In 2006:

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.

The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren’t suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.

“It’s the largest database ever assembled in the world,” said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA’s activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency’s goal is “to create a database of every call ever made” within the nation’s borders, this person added.


Citing massive federal government overreach, the hosts of Fox & Friends unanimously appeared appalled by the news — while also questioning whether the actions abuse the PATRIOT Act.

Watch courtesy of Mediaite:


The PATRIOT Act which Fox & Friends cheered on, is suddenly a problem when utilized by another administration.

  • F M

    I don’t care who is doing it. This is dangerous stuff – there is no way that I trust *anyone* with that kind of power to look into our private affairs.

    It looks great for the sake of security – until the wrong situation occurs and the wrong person/people get into power – using it against enemies/adversaries. This could turn *very* ugly, very quickly.

  • Anomaly 100

    I oppose the PATRIOT Act under anyone, but it’s still not a breaking story.

    • F M

      Agreed on the Patriot Act. People are making a huge mistake when they cede that kind of liberty for the sake of security. As for the breaking story part, I think that’s very secondary. I just hope that *someone* will drive the story to wake people up. I think most people really have no idea what the government is allowed to do now. Whatever it takes to get it “out there”, great. By all means, if it was used in exactly the same way under Bush, present that. But the Patriot Act is very disturbing – it needs to be either drastically altered or repealed outright, imo.

      “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

      • Anomaly 100

        That’s one of my favorite quotes. It was on my old Facebook account in fact.

      • BanditBasheert

        I think everyone really knows that once they get that type of intrusive snoop power, they will never ever relinquish it.

        The Patriot Act was always dangerous. Rather than structuring it around specific things, it is now a catchall to snoop and invade everyone’s privacy. If you truly believe you have nothing to hide, you are thinking very shortsidedly. These people ACT, they do not question.

        Between the Supremes, the Patriot Act and this President, our few rights to privacy are vanishing before our eyes – and people seem blind to the fact that just because Mr Obama says something, it doesn’t make it true.

        NO government in a free nation should be having the abusive powers this President and his people are gathering.

    • Hank

      I think the “breaking” part of it, at least as far as I’m concerned, is the magnitude. I guess I always felt as long as I wasn’t communicating with someone or some group deemed to be a “terrorist” group (You know? Like the “TEA Party) that I was okay.

      The “Breaking Story” aspect of this to me is the magnitude. That my phone calls to my kids or girlfriend may have fallen under scrutiny, Or because I am at odds with the I.R.S. on some issues, maybe they are combing my records to see who I am speaking with and seeking advice from. If I’m calling Zawahiri in Afghanistan, well…..I EXPECT scrutiny!!

      I’m suspicious in that way. I DO NOT click on ANY Government site if I can help it. And I try to temper my comments on public sites.

      And when you stop and think about it, I don’t think the plan was that we were EVER to have to fear OUR Government!!

      • Anomaly 100

        But this “magnitude” was the same in 2006. I was against the PATRIOT Act then and I am now.

        You don’t have to communicate directly with someone in a terrorist group. You could be suspicious by association really. As someone that’s had their DMs read by feds, I find it invasive. I wasn’t hiding anything. I was just being a blogger and communicating with the people I was writing about.

        • BanditBasheert

          I think within the National Security community, paranoia runs rampant. They must screech “Oh my god” at least 100 times a day in fear.
          We don’t share their fear. We see it as a big intrusion into our right to privacy.

          Our constitution says we have a right to Privacy. If someone believes I have done something wrong, GET A WARRANT.

          Just because he is President, does not give him the right to violate peoples rights.

          • Anomaly 100

            By National Security community are you referring to NSA employees? I assume they’re just doing their jobs. It’s not their job to make the laws, only to adhere to them. I’m not big on authority figures but to wager a guess, they measure their activities by what is legal.

            The PATRIOT Act was already law. I do not agree with Obama continuing with the Act, but, Conservatives have painted Obama as a far left wing radical while the opposite is true.

            I’ve always said that Obama is my favorite Conservative. I’d prefer a progressive in office, but he’s the best choice we had.

          • BanditBasheert

            Absolutely agree. The idea that Sarah Palin and Grampy McWalnuts would be the choice was ludicrous. She couldn’t find a functioning braincell with an MRI and his goal was permanent nonstop forever and ever war.
            We didn’t have a choice.

          • Anomaly 100

            Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren would never continue this policy. Just sayin’…

          • BanditBasheert

            Agree. There are quite a few progressives who find these policies disturbing.

          • Special K

            Bernie Sanders warned everyone this day would come!

        • Hank

          “But this “magnitude” was the same in 2006.”

          Was it?? I can’t believe it started out that way. But I will tell you this and I believe it with all my heart. I DO think my “participation” on certain blogs gained me some unwelcome scrutiny because certain individuals abused my right to privacy. I guess in that matter, you can welcome me to your club.

      • BanditBasheert

        I agree – what I do draw the line at is people who threaten the President and his family because they don’t like him. The haters – the racism…really? None of that is good nor does it make things better.

        My objection to Mr. Obama is that I think he really has no clue what he is doing. He is overly smart and over rationalizes. He is tone deaf to the results of his actions.

        Like you I don’t feel I’ve done anything wrong. And even saying that, there is no right my government has snooping in my phone records to see who I am calling under some guise of national security.

        This is why we have a Judicial Branch (such as it is). To put checks and balances on the actions of an out of touch President or an out of touch staff.

        There is NO NEED for all of this. If you CAN’T get a warrant to snoop, then you have no right to snoop. You need to show “just cause” and if it doesn’t exist, the rest is simply a violation of individual constitutional rights.

        • Special K

          I believe the judge who approved the subpoena was a Regan appointee.

  • Carla

    I’m out on the Patriot Act as well, regardless of who’s in office. You’ll have to forgive me if I have trouble with the Chambliss claim of all the good it’s done after his asinine comments yesterday on the military assaults. The GOP expressed the same outrage just last month over the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force. WTH?

    • PATRIOT Act

      You don’t love me?

      • Carla

        really, what have you done for me lately?

        • PATRIOT Act

          Well I listen to you. You may not know I’m listening in on you but I am. How many guys actually listen anymore?

          • BanditBasheert

            Well said.

          • Carla

            that is so good, I have been unable to find a suitable comeback. bravo patriot act, bravo.

  • Cosmic_Surfer

    In the 50’s and 60’s, one of the most often used talking points to promote how “evil” Communism is to the people of the planet was “they spy on their own people!” – No freedom of expression or thought and living in a society of “big brother”. Welcome to the US except it didn’t just start under Bush, but it was made accepted policy…Open season on the Constitutional rights of the people under the guise of “security” is still war on freedom.

    Bradley Manning, Wikileaks, Anonymous are the defenders of transparency and therefore accountability, in the US and in other countries, and see how they are treated.

    • F M

      There’s always a balance on these sorts of things – but it seems plain to me that we’ve gone way over the line on this one. I shudder to think what could happen with this law in place and our increased willingness to accept government intrusion into everything. It just can’t end well.

      • BanditBasheert

        So far we have had almost 4+ years of waiting for the “Happy Clappy Change” that was coming – and what do we have? Increased deportations, Gitmo is still in business, drones killing “who knows who”?, and now we have data mining of everyone’s phone.

        ALL of this is happening under Mr. Obama – there is no more excuse available. If anything, he is worse than Bush on these issues because Bush was just stupid.

        • F M

          I have to agree with you. Doing things like this was at least consistent with what Bush believed and said he would do – even if it was very misguided and wrong. But it’s completely inconsistent with Obama’s purported beliefs and what he said he would do. And as you’ve noted, it’s actually gotten *worse* under Obama. I’m still shocked by that and the fact that so many have kind of turned a blind eye to it. If he’s not going to change these policies, then I don’t know who is.

          • BanditBasheert

            Well we KNOW that the GOP offers no relief from Privacy violations. If anything, we’d be reliving the Glory Days of the KGB under their rule.

            I too am shocked. I have tried very hard to NOT feel this way – but I don’t trust him anymore and frankly I don’t like his actions. I don’t know who is advising him or if he is actually acting on his own, but you are correct. He is an even bigger threat to us than Bush and his crew of misFitDimWits ever was.

            Bush lacked the intelligence to actually BE dangerous – and his low IQ made him depend more upon his personality traits and less on being a big tough guy. On a daily basis, Mr. Obama is becoming more and more like a bully. It gives me a very uncomfortable feeling.

            I hope I am wrong .. I just don’t see it that way.

          • F M

            Fair enough. I don’t think Bush was nearly as stupid as you believe, but that’s immaterial to the central point. We all should be extremely concerned about what’s going on now and party affiliation has nothing to do with it.

          • BanditBasheert

            OK let me phrase it this way. Bush was not an intellectual person. He lacks basic curiosity and interests. In many ways, he is exactly the same as Sarah Palin with those traits. Except she is a whole lot dumber. I think Bush had the ability to learn facts if he applied himself – and he did have the ability to laugh at himself. He was not mean – he was not evil (See Cheney, Dick). He just wasn’t our brightest bulb.

            I just cannot ever forgive Dubya for lying us into the wars – so long ago. And so wrong.

          • F M

            That seems more reasonable, although Bush and John Kerry had almost identical GPA’s at Yale.


            I’m also not prepared to say that he actually “lied” about Iraq and WMD. There’s a long record of statements from Clinton and a whole bunch of Democrats who looked at the same intelligence and came to the same conclusions. Several other countries did as well. Even documents it.


  • Older_Wiser2

    Yes, I remember: the full Patriot Act bill was signed into law by President Bush on October 26, 2001. Freedom fries, anyone? Lawmakers took advantage of the fear generated by 9/11 and ran with it.

    Wait for the lunacy in 1, 2, 3…

    • moe22

      They did 9/11 on purpose so the law makers could take advantage… and a lot of tyrants also to take advantage.

    • BanditBasheert

      On the other hand, Bush is no longer the President and Obama is simply continuing his reprehensible policies. The Patriot Act is a horrendous attack on the American People – Mr. Obama has chosen to continue these intrusive civil rights violating actions – and in fact is ratcheting up the snooping and data mining as well as killing people right and left with drones – even when they admit they don’t know WHO they are killing.
      Obama is simply a continuation of Bush –

    • Cosmic_Surfer

      Obama always supported the Patriot Act – he voted for it as senator; He also signed the NDAA, Monsanto Protection Act, and a number of other bills and executive orders of the neo-con/neo-liberal kind

  • Peter Gatliff

    These people are using the same methods the Nazi Party used to put fear in the people. Then again our GOP was in bed wth them in the 1930’s. Read the eport of the “Business Plot”.

    • BanditBasheert

      So was the British Royal Family especially “Prince Phillip” – a real piece of work that one.

      I don’t want to relive the Holocaust – or the Adolph Hitler issue.

      We need to treat all of these as individual cases. People voted for hope and change .. it sounded good and we were all war weary and tired of morons running the show. Many of us voted for Mr. Obama believing that he would try and make things better.

      It has taken 4+ years but he finally lost me…..when I find myself having to try and rationalize all of his actions as being “for the good”, I am going to walk away.

      I believe he is a good man. I believe he is probably a nice man. We know he is a very smart man. But he is a horrible president. And yes I do understand Congress holds a big part of this blame. But drones? Phone snooping? Crackdowns on whistleblowers?

      Whose side is Obama on?

  • F M

    I just came across this from Lindsey Graham. I expect this from people like him. But why are so many liberals giving Obama a pass on drone strikes and this kind of stuff? Everyone needs to stand up and say enough – regardless of what your party is. Ari Fleischer is right here – Obama is basically carrying out Bush’s fourth term on this issues.

    Quote: Ari Fleischer, President’s George W. Bush’s former press secretary, wrote on Twitter that Obama “is carrying out Bush’s fourth term” with drone strikes, phone surveillance and Guantanamo Bay. “Just to be clear & so silent liberals understand, I support President O’s anti-terror actions. They’re bi-partisan now,” he wrote. (end quote)

    This is not good. If Obama and the liberals are not going to stop this, then who is?

    • BanditBasheert

      Gotta give you an up arrow on this. I voted for Obama twice. I see now that although I didn’t have a choice in the matter, it is something I regret.
      The alternatives (McWalnuts and QuitterTwit were too obscene to deserve a vote, and Mittens and his Dancing Horsey were too ludicrous to vote for).

      You are so right. We have Dubya Light – gotta give him one thing, the man can campaign as good as the best. But what you see is not what you get.

      I’d give you two up arrows on this if I could.

      • Hank

    • Cosmic_Surfer

      Many of us aren’t giving “him a pass” but we don’t get the MSM press coverage.,.not part of the MIC paradigm.

      See my latest and actually search FON for more stories on Drones. If you want more information on those of us standing against the use of drones as a techno-posse, check out CodePink, ANSWER, Jason Leopold, Jeffrey Kaye, Andy Worthington, Jeremy Scahill, World Can’t Wait…..just naming a few

      • F M

        Great, but I didn’t say that all liberals were giving him a pass. But I think we’d probably agree that too many are. Many more people – liberal and otherwise – need to get on board and start pressing hard while he’s still in office.

        But why do you think the MSM won’t give you guys any coverage? My sense is that they would – if a Republican were president.

        I think that’s at least one advantage of having a Republican in office. The media seems to take it’s job of challenging politicians more seriously, remaining very then. That’s healthy and necessary in a democracy.

        • Cosmic_Surfer

          I agree – not enough of us are speaking out or even educating ourselves on the use of Drones, just like we aren’t speaking out or even educating ourselves on Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the continued use of extraordinary rendition, out-sourcing illegal imprisonment and abuse too countries we know will use torture, supporting corrupt regimes.

          I don’t think it would be brought up any more by the MSM under a Bush administration or Reagan or Nixon for that matter. The MSM is a supporter of filling their owners coffers – they are owned by huge corporations that have their hands in everything from war machines to investments in those war machines.

          Have we yet seen photos or films of the flag draped coffins from Afghanistan or Iraq under Bush Wars?

          • F M

            I think it could perhaps be argued that the MSM treats Republicans differently, but in selective areas, not completely across the board. There are some areas that perhaps the media treats Republicans and Democrats fairly similarly. However, looking back at the Patriot act, drones, Guantanamo, it seems clear to me that Bush was held to a higher standard than Obama by the MSM.

  • BanditBasheert

    Again .. well said.

    Double up arrow.

    This is very dangerous – and there are literally millions of people who are spending all of their time defending Obama and his choices in these issues which are all cloaked in secrecy and the ever-present “National Security” excuse. Capturing millions of telephone numbers and contacts within the US is ridiculous – that isn’t National Security, it’s snooping.

    Between his terrible horrible record on deportations and drones, and now this latest, he truly is not living up to being the President of a strong nation.

  • BanditBasheert

    Oh Snap!

  • F M

    Not buying the conspiracy theories, moe. But I do agree that lawmakers either took advantage of or over-reacted to 9-11 once it occurred.

  • F M

    I just came across this – coincidental timing.


  • Pamela Brooke

    Here’s a great graphic that explores the history of wiretapping from a visual perspective, including the 2006 NSA Mass Call Data Collection.

  • joelshenderson

    Hmmm, that’s strange – I remember quite a LOT of republicans (etc) that very rightly took MAJOR ‘issue’ with the Patriot Act, etc.

    Do you not have a problem with government malfeasance based upon which party is in office? To me, right is right & wrong is wrong regardless of the letter after the name of the perpetrator…maybe you should consider this sort of ethical consistency?