Originally Posted by BroncoBeavis
It doesn't have to listen, only record. Then you can focus on the 'threats' real, imagined, or contrived at your leisure, and as they become known.
Say some firebrand local politician starts making hay and building a national following that might lead to a popular movement the government doesn't like.
It doesn't matter whether they've been listening to his calls up until then. Now that he's on their radar they can take their time, go back to everything he's ever done and turn his life inside out.
You control this kind of data, and you effectively control the population, at least when it comes to governance.
I think that's a vast overestimation of the capabilities of the program. I have a hard time believing there's enough storage capacity to allow them to hold on to everything everyone does forever.
The point still stands that this can (and probably will/already has) be abused. From my perspective, the first step to even beginning a policy discussion on this is to demand that both the FISA court be made public, and to remove any and all ability to independently investigate from individual agents. I would love to see a coalition of congressmen and women come out publicly and say something like "If you think GOP cooperation was bad, you haven't seen anything yet. We will do absolutely NOTHING until we get both of these guarantees." Then spend every day on the airwaves talking in depth about the program so that the American people support the congressmen and women. Basically do a reverse Obama. Drum up public support before forcing the establishment to make a change.