Bush admite escutas e monitoramento de 10 milhões de americanos

By Cherrie V. Reid, BET.com Staff Writer and Wire Reports

Posted May 11, 2006 – President George Bush acknowledged Thursday that the U.S. government is indeed tracking the phone records of tens of millions of Americans, but he said it is only to protect the country against future terrorist attacks.

The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records and using data provided by AT&T, Verizon Communications and BellSouth Corp., USA Today reported.
Bush, speaking at a news conference, said he authorized the domestic serveillance program, which is being called the largest database ever created, to ensure that the privacy of everyday Americans is “fiercely protected.”
The agency “strictly targets al-Qaeda and its known affiliates,” Bush said. “We want to know what they are saying.”
There was immediate reaction to the news of this spying program, which involves collecting information on ordinary Americans. It does not, however, involve NSA listening to or recording the conversations, USA Today reported. Instead, the spy agency uses the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity.
Members of Congress as well as civil libertarians have blasted the president in recent months, saying that he has over-reached the law by spying on American citizens. Some have even called the actions impeachable.
"We need to know what our government is doing in regards to spying on Americans, said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt). "If the government is unwilling to speak about this, then it failed in its responsiblity to the American people."
A source, who spoke to USA Today anonymously, said, "It's the largest database ever assembled in the world." The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added. The three telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA, which launched the program in 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, sources said. The program is aimed at identifying and tracking suspected terrorists, they said.
Don Weber, a senior spokesman for the NSA, declined to discuss the agency's operations.
"Given the nature of the work we do, it would be irresponsible to comment on actual or alleged operational issues; therefore, we have no information to provide," he said.
"However, it is important to note that NSA takes its legal responsibilities seriously and operates within the law," USA Today reported.

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