Cheney and Bush - Patriot Act
The USA PATRIOT Act, commonly known as the Patriot Act, is a controversial Act of Congress that U.S. President George W. Bush signed into law on October 26, 2001. The contrived acronym stands for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001"
The act expands the authority of U.S. law enforcement agencies for the stated purpose of fighting terrorism in the United States and abroad. Among its provisions, the Act increases the ability of law enforcement agencies to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial and other records; eases restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expands the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and enhances the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts. The act also expands the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which the USA Patriot Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA_PATRIOT_Act)
AND THIS WIRETAPPING BY THE GOVERNMENT WAS, MOST LIKELY, GOING ON BEFORE 9/11.
Only Qwest among the major telecoms refused to go along with the U.S. government's wiretapping --
"Citing current and former government and corporate officials, the Times reported that the companies have granted the NSA access to their all-important switches, the hubs through which colossal volumes of voice calls and data transmissions move every second. A former telecom executive told us that efforts to obtain call details go back to early 2001, predating the 9/11 attacks and the president's now celebrated secret executive order. The source, who asked not to be identified so as not to out his former company, reports that the NSA approached U.S. carriers and asked for their cooperation in a "data-mining" operation, which might eventually cull "millions" of individual calls and e-mails.
Like the pressure applied to ITT a half-century ago, our source says the government was insistent, arguing that his competitors had already shown their patriotism by signing on."