As a visiting fellow at George Washington University's National Security Archive, who has just completed the first book of a three-volume history of the NSA, intelligence historian Matthew Aid probably knows more about the super-secret National Security Agency (NSA) than anyone outside of the agency.
The NSA, of course, is the agency that, as has been revealed, has obtained phone call records on tens of millions of Americans from Verizon, BellSouth and AT&T. If you called your Mom for Mother's Day, the NSA may well know about it.
Other companies such as Internet Service Providers and cellular services have said they wouldn't turn over this info to the NSA without a warrant- but Aid is not buying it.
"I'll tell you where this story probably will go next," Aid tells Salon.com's Kim Zetter today. "Notice the USA Today article (which broke the story last week) doesn't mention whether the Internet service providers or cellphone providers or companies operating transatlantic cables like Global Crossing cooperated with the NSA. That's the next round of revelations."
Aid implied that if and when one of these companies 'fess up, the you-know-what will really hit the fan.
"The real vulnerabilities for the NSA are the companies," Aid said. "Sooner or later one of these companies, fearing the inevitable lawsuit from the ACLU, is going to admit what it did, and the whole thing is going to come tumbling down."
I, for one, would like to know why this government trusts Afghan warlords, Dubai portmasters and underpaid (read-"bribeable") shipping clerks at container ports in nations with known terrorist cells - but doesn't trust us.