- Making News: NSA Collecting Data from Telecommunications Companies
USA Today reported this morning that the National Security Agency is compiling the world's biggest database, including every telephone call ever made in the United States. Within hours of publication, and without denying the story, President Bush issued a statement that everything is being done within the law, adding that leaks about intelligence strategies hurt the government's ability to protect Americans. Shane Harris reports on national security for the National Journal.
- Reporter's Notebook: Israel Releases Previously Withheld Funds to Palestinians
Israel collects $55 million a month in taxes and customs revenues that are supposed to go to the Palestinian Authority, money withheld since Hamas won the latest election. Now it appears that Israel will, like the "Quartet"--made up of the US, Europe, the UN and Russia--bypass the Hamas-led government and release funds to the Palestinian people. Ilene Prusher is Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the Christian Science Monitor.
Increased Intelligence Gathering and Surveillance
State and local police agencies have been discredited in the past for spying on the wrong people, but since September 11, they've gotten more than a half-billion dollars in federal money to develop intelligence capabilities once again. President Bush today did not deny that the National Security Agency is compiling a database including every telephone call made in the United States. The Police Chiefs' Association says "all terrorism is local," but what about potential abuses of privacy and civil rights? Will local cops follow suggested guidelines or spy on politicians, peace groups and vegetarian activists as they have in the past? We hear from journalists, law enforcement, intelligence experts and civil libertarians.