More on the NSA Surveillance Program:
ABC News reports that Russell Tice, a former NSA insider, has publicly announced that he is one of the sources for the New York Times reporting on the NSA domestic surveillance program. The story includes the following tidbits relevant to the program itself:
Tice says the technology exists to track and sort through every domestic and international phone call as they are switched through centers, such as one in New York, and to search for key words or phrases that a terrorist might use.Of course, saying that "the technology exists" doesn't necessarily mean that the technology was used in that way in this program. It might, but it's not clear. Plus, it's unclear what "the full range of secret NSA programs" means. Is that a reference to ECHELON? I don't think we know. Thanks to Eric Freedman for the link.
"If you picked the word 'jihad' out of a conversation," Tice said, "the technology exists that you focus in on that conversation, and you pull it out of the system for processing."
According to Tice, intelligence analysts use the information to develop graphs that resemble spiderwebs linking one suspect's phone number to hundreds or even thousands more.
President Bush has admitted that he gave orders that allowed the NSA to eavesdrop on a small number of Americans without the usual requisite warrants.
But Tice disagrees. He says the number of Americans subject to eavesdropping by the NSA could be in the millions if the full range of secret NSA programs is used.
"That would mean for most Americans that if they conducted, or you know, placed an overseas communication, more than likely they were sucked into that vacuum," Tice said.