“US military officers, American journalists and American aid workers were routinely intercepted and ‘collected on’ as they called their offices or homes in the United States.” He also said his co-workers “were ordered to transcribe these calls.” Faulk told Ross: ”when one of my co-workers went to a supervisor and said: ’but sir, there are personal calls,’ the supervisor said: ‘my orders were to transcribe everything’.” He said that the intercepted calls included highly personal and intimate conversations and even phone sex.As Captain Renault (from Casablanca) might have said it: "I'm shocked, shocked to find illegal activities going on here." It is clear that when President Bush assured the nation that the NSA was only spying upon "phone calls of known Al Qaeda suspects making a phone call into the United States," he was presenting a criminal lie to the American people. To say we -- the political cognoscenti -- already knew that is one thing; to hear it validated by former government snoops is another.
As Greenwald put it:
...these disclosures are from only two relatively low-level individual NSA linguists at one NSA facility in Georgia. If just these two individuals are aware of this level of abuse, just imagine what the true extent of the abuses is — both quantitatively (how many innocent Americans had their conversations eavesdropped on?) and qualitatively (who, beyond journalists and aid workers, were listened to?).Millions of Americans are hoping a newly elected Obama administration will end such practices. But history shows that once you give a spy agency like the NSA such powers, they are very difficult to reign in. In the famous words of the Roman poet Juvenal, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" -- who will watch the watchers?