Bored analysts do things like spy on women using surveillance cameras and listen to American GIs overseas having phone sex with their loved ones back home. Or an FBI agent may investigate strange but not unlawful emails on behalf of a family friend, leading to a sex scandal that brings down the Director of the CIA.
It's about time someone made a list of these known abuses. Over time, it will only get worse.
the "start" of this admitted unconstitutional spying was in 2008 -- which is exactly when the telcos received immunity from all such cases involving warrantless wiretapping.
So they were abusing the power right from the start. I thought people were corrupted over time, but in this case, they must have been slathering to abuse their immunity as soon as it was put on the table.
I think we all suspect that the NSA has been playing "Hide the Content" since these leaks began. They're collecting it, they don't want to admit it, and they're against transparency because they know what it will uncover.
It seems like they firmly believe that the attention spans of their citizens will cause them to move on if they just weather the initial storm.
The government surveillance chronicle drops out of the news a few days after every revelation, so weathering the storm would appear to be a viable strategy for them. Making boneheaded moves like this, however, is definitely not part of that strategy.
Except the law they used doesn't provide a framework for doing this. It only lets them question someone to work out whether or not they're involved with acts of terrorism, not to find out of they're in possession of classified information.
Unfortunately, people of a certain mindset want the government to twist whatever powers it has in order to do what they think is right. They don't give a darn about abuse as long as it targets the right people.