Domestic surveillance and warrantless wiretaps

Matt Blaze mab at
Sat Dec 27 11:21:14 PST 2008

Like many people, I found last week's Newsweek cover
piece, revealing Thomas M. Tamm as the principal source
for James Risen and Eric Lichtblau's 2005 NY Times story
that broke the warrantless wiretap story, to be a riveting

But I actually found a sidebar to the story even more
interesting. That story talks about the now famous 2004
incident at Ashcroft's hospital bed in which several
top DoJ officials threatened to resign. It turns out
that was not about warrantless content  collection,
but rather about the wholesale collection of call

This story raises a number of new -- and ultimately
quite disturbing -- questions about the nature of the
wiretap program and the extent of its reach into the
domestic communication of innocent Americans.  In
particular, put together with other reports about the
program, it seems to corroborate claims that telcos
(including my alma matter AT&T) provided the NSA with
wholesale access to domestic call detail records, and
that top DoJ officials worried seriously that this
violated the law.

I discuss the implications of this in more detail on
my blog; perhaps some here will find it interesting:


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