Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bush Responds on NSA Spying

The newspaper USA Today has a story today about the NSA secretly collecting information about phone calls made by tens of millions of Americans.

USA Today reports that a number of telephone companies were asked by the NSA make available to them millions of phone records. AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth agreed.

The program can track numbers for all outgoing and incoming calls.

President Bush attempt to clairfy the issue, stating, "We are not mining or trolling through the personal lives of innocent Americans," and said Americans' privacy is being "fiercely protected."

The deputy White House press secretary, said "The intelligence activities undertaken by the United States government are lawful, necessary and required to protect Americans from terrorist attacks."

Businesses would not comment beyond assurances that they complying with the law.

"We have been in full compliance with the law and we are committed to our customers' privacy," said Bob Varettoni, a spokesman for Verizon.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, said Congress should investigate. "It is our government, it's not one party's government. It's America's government. Those entrusted with great power have a duty to answer to Americans what they are doing," he said.

Republican Senator Arlen Specter, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, appears to be angry, and said he would subpoena executives from telecommunications companies "to find out exactly what is going on."

Senator Richard Durbin, from Illinois, said American's privacy was being threatened.

"We need more. We need to take this seriously, more seriously than some other matters that might come before the committee because our privacy as American citizens is at stake," Durbin said.


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