Exaggerations Debunked: NSA Actually Collects 20% or Less of US Call Data
Today the Wall Street Journal’s intelligence reporter, Siobhan Gorman, has some very interesting news. You know how the Greenwald crowd has been relentlessly pushing the meme that the NSA is eavesdropping on every phone call made in the US?
Not even close: NSA Collects 20% or Less of U.S. Call Data.
WASHINGTON—The National Security Agency phone-data program, which has been at the center of controversy over the NSA’s surveillance operations, collects information from about 20% or less of all U.S. calls—much less than previously described by lawmakers.
The program had been described as collecting records on virtually every phone call placed in the U.S., but in fact, it doesn’t cover records for most cellphones, the fastest growing sector in telephony and an area where the agency has struggled to keep pace, according to several people familiar with the program.
The dwindling coverage suggests the NSA’s program is less pervasive than widely believed and also less useful.
“Landlines are going away, and new providers are entering the field,” said one person familiar with the program. “It’s hard to keep up.”