By AMANDA VENDER
In May the newspaper USA Today revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) is creating a database of phone calls made within the United States. President Bush says that the government isn’t regularly listening in on calls, only gathering data about what numbers are called and when. The government says that this information can help stop terrorism. The database program has been going on since 2001, but until now, was a secret.
This discovery follows the uncovering of a different spy program in December. In that program the public learned that the NSA is listening in on phone calls and reading e-mail messages made to people from inside the United States to outside the United States. The law says that officials must get a warrant from a judge showing that there is a reason for conducting the spying activities, but the President had approved wiretaps* without a warrant.
The spy programs raise questions about whether the Bush administration is violating the privacy of individuals in the name of fighting terrorism. And in light of the two secret spy programs uncovered by journalists in the last five months, many wonder what else the government may be doing in secret.
*Wiretaps are hidden listening or recording devices