http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324478304578171623040640006.htmlNow, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited. Data about Americans "reasonably believed to constitute terrorism information" may be permanently retained.
The changes also allow databases of U.S. civilian information to be given to foreign governments for analysis of their own. In effect, U.S. and foreign governments would be using the information to look for clues that people might commit future crimes.
The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution says that searches of "persons, houses, papers and effects" shouldn't be conducted without "probable cause" that a crime has been committed. But that doesn't cover records the government creates in the normal course of business with citizens.
Under the new rules issued in March, the National Counterterrorism Center, known as NCTC, can obtain almost any database the government collects that it says is "reasonably believed" to contain "terrorism information." The list could potentially include almost any government database, from financial forms submitted by people seeking federally backed mortgages to the health records of people who sought treatment at Veterans Administration hospitals.
"If terrorist organizations are going to plan and execute attacks against the United States, their people must engage in transactions and they will leave signatures," the program's promoter, Admiral John Poindexter, said at the time. "We must be able to pick this signal out of the noise."
Ms. Libin's concern that innocent people could be inadvertently targeted had been largely overruled at the Department of Justice, these people said. Colleagues there were more concerned about missing the next terrorist threat.
Mr. Brennan considered the arguments. And within a few days, the attorney general, Eric Holder, had signed the new guidelines.
Do anything for or through the government any time recently? Well, now they get to go through all that information without cause to see if you might be a terrist. Glad to see the government has no problem slowly extending their tendrils more and more - all in the name of safety.