TechDirt on the ATF tracking most international calls for nearly a decade before 9/11 and yet the intelligence agencies were unable to prevent the massive terrorist attack that has gutted American’s privacy ever since:
Except, it turns out, the feds did have just such a program prior to 9/11 — run by the DEA. As you may recall, back in January it was revealed that the DEAhad its own database of phone call metadata of nearly all calls from inside the US to foreign countries. Brad Heath at USA Today came out with a report yesterday that goes into much more detail on the program, showing that it dates back to at least 1992 — meaning that the feds almost certainly had the calls that Feinstein and Mueller pretended the government didn’t have prior to 9/11.
But, you might say, perhaps the DEA didn’t share that info with the NSA. Well… if we go back to some of the NY Times award-winning reporting on the NSA’s surveillance programs from 2007, we see that it actually mentions this DEA program… and notes that the NSA worked with the DEA on it.
This is a slightly old news story that I just ran across but it is interesting in light of the Patriot Act Section 215 powers not being renewed.
I find it pretty incredible the US government can claim it requires all these expansive powers because terrorism. In fact, the reason it needed these powers was to codify them into law to ensure their legality. Turns out that is much better than relying on some random government lawyer writing an opinion on these powers.