In an interview today on the ABC TV’s This Week, Glenn Greenwald says that this coming week will see the release of yet another story that backs up one of Edward Snowden’s most explosive allegations that has been vigorously denied by the government, that low-level people in the NSA could, if they wished, search through all the records they have collected and listen in to the stored phone calls of anyone at all, including the president.
“The NSA has trillions of telephone calls and emails in their databases that they’ve collected over the last several years.”
He continued: “And what these programs are, are very simple screens, like the ones that supermarket clerks or shipping and receiving clerks use, where all an analyst has to do is enter an email address or an IP address, and it does two things. It searches that database and lets them listen to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future.
Greenwald insisted that it was “all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst.”
The dual hearings on Wednesday should be fascinating. I hope the story is released before those hearings. If so, I wonder if any senator on that panel will question NSA director Keith Alexander and other government witnesses about it.