The USA Today is reporting that the NSA has been studying private records of telephone calls placed in the US by American citizens:
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.
The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.
The White House gave this statement through deputy press secretary Dana Perino: "The intelligence activities undertaken by the United States government are lawful, necessary and required to protect Americans from terrorist attacks."
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, was shocked when he heard the report. ''Are you telling me that tens of millions of Americans are involved with al Qaeda. These are tens of millions of Americans who are not suspected of anything ... Where does it stop? Shame on us for being so far behind and being so willing to rubber stamp anything this administration does. We ought to fold our tents.''