NSA Whistleblower on Credit Card Data Mining, Illegal Spying
Kim Zetter writes on Threat Level:
Former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice shed new light on the Bush administration's warrantless domestic spying last week when he told MSNBC that the NSA blended credit card transaction records with wiretap data to keep tabs on thousands of Americans.More here.
But Tice didn't say where the credit card information, and other financial data, came from. Did the agency scoop it in as part of its surveillance of U.S. communications backbones, or did financial companies give up your records in bulk to the NSA?
The distinction is significant. Telecommunication companies, such as AT&T and Verizon, are embroiled in lawsuits over their alleged cooperation with the government's warrantless surveillance. If credit card companies and banks also provided information without a warrant, it's conceivable they could face a courtroom challenge as well.