Monday, June 10, 2013

Calling 'Bullshit!' on Congressman Mike Rogers

On Sunday's ABC News This Week House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R) made the following justification for the NSA hosting the nation's phone records (transcript, emphasis added):
...What this is, and the reason this happened is after 9/11, we realized there was a big hole in our ability to fully identify all of the players in that terrorist plot. 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

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home