Big-Brotherly Love

Phone-Record Collection Thwarted Terror

As the general outrage builds over the report that the government has been secretly collecting records of phone calls of Verizon customers, House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers says that the practice actually helped thwart a domestic terror attack. (He declined to give any more details.) That’s just the latest news that may ease some of the anger over the surveillance. The Guardian also reports that, contrary to what many are believing, the collection of phone records “does not allow the government to listen in on anyone’s telephone calls” and “does not include the content of any communications or the name of any subscriber.” In other words, only metadata—like the phone number and length of a call—was collected. A memo to Verizon employees about the NSA surveillance didn’t confirm the practice, but said that, in government dealings, its hands are tied to comply.