And one of it was by the fact that these business records, the phone billing information, is destroyed by these companies. They can't, expense-wise, it's really difficult for them to hold them. So this is what happened. The court said, put all of that information in a box and hold that information, and when you want to access that information, you have to use this very specific court-ordered approval process, which means it has to be a foreign person believed to be on a foreign land. So some notion that they can see a name that even comes out of that -- by the way, this is important -- no name comes out of that search. So even if they get a number, it doesn't have a name on it. This then allows them to do further investigation.The "expense-wise" argument is Bullshit! Congress mandates that business hold records all the time (think tax records). If it was really a matter of cost, Congress could have appropriated funds for the phone companies to warehouse the phone records and yet make them immediately available via a secure data link (à la NexisLexis-style business-to-business access) once the FISA court had authorized it's access in a case with probable cause. This would be a solution that captures both the spirit and letter of the Fourth Amendment.
Update: Congressman Rogers is interviewed on Fox News Special Report (video). He addresses the data "lock box" but not the technical justification for warehousing all the data at the NSA; as opposed to leaving it in place at the phone companies. See post: NSA Phone Data "Lock Box" and the "Reasonable" test of Smith v. Maryland