During a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing, Gen. Alexander refused to state that the National Security Agency (NSA) had never in the past collected the location information of American phone calls.
Following pointed questioning by Sen. Wyden, he claimed that “Under Section 215, NSA is not receiving cell site location data and has no current plans to do so.” Sen. Wyden responded, as reported by The Hill, asking if the NSA had ever done so. Gen. Alexander would not answer the question directly.
Following a very public flap in which the U.S. intelligence apparatus was publicly excoriated and mocked for directly lying to its Congressional oversight, it would appear that it doesn’t want to make that mistake again, at least in the context of a scrutinized, televised hearing.
The implication here is obvious: The NSA claims that it is not currently tracking the location of cell phone calls placed in the United States, but refuses to state that it never has. So it did.
This is a bit worse than you think. The NSA already tracks the time and human participation of U.S. phone calls, so why is location an issue? Because if the NSA tracks the location of U.S. cell phone calls, it has roving GPS units strapped to every citizen that could be used to map where each of us is at any given moment.
I, for one, think it a breach of privacy for the NSA to know precisely where I am at all times. I think it also exceptionally problematic that they track whom I speak with and for how long, but that isn’t half as bad as keeping tabs on where I’m walking, and if I have crossed state lines. I’ll keep after myself, thanks.
Given its history of lying, that the NSA claims that it isn’t currently recording our location isn’t too satiating, but perhaps it’s something. The Snowden effect rolls along.
Top Image Credit: isafmedia