Maybe America Doesn’t Like the NSA Phone Surveillance Program After All

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This is from the AP today:

A leading Republican senator on Tuesday described controversial U.S. spy programs as looking far deeper into Americans’ phone records than the Obama administration has been willing to admit, fueling new privacy concerns as Congress sought to defend the surveillance systems.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC., says the U.S. intelligence surveillance of phone records allows analysts to monitor U.S. phone records for a pattern of calls, even if those numbers have no known connection to terrorism. Graham says the National Security Agency then matches phone numbers against known terrorists. Graham helped draft the surveillance law that governs the surveillance program.

Technically, I guess this is true, since the Obama administration hasn’t been willing to say anything about the NSA phone surveillance program. But aside from that, this is what everyone in the world has been talking about for days, ever since the Verizon warrant was first revealed: pattern matching, link analysis, and data mining in general. So this is hardly a fresh bombshell. Still, in a way I guess it’s the first official-ish acknowledgement that this is what NSA is doing, so that makes it news.

Elsewhere, CBS News reports that 58 percent of Americans disapprove of the government collecting the phone records of ordinary Americans. Yesterday, Pew reported that 56 percent of Americans approved. Obviously, question wording is going to be a real headache on this issue.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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