I'm not really sure what all the kerfuffle is about. There's nothing new here.
In the Summer of 1968, I, along with two other guys from our class at Ft. Monmouth, was assigned to Arlington Hall Station, a tiny little post nearby Ft. Myer in Virginia. It was the HQ of the Army Security Agency.
The ASA's job was to listen in to phone and radio communications all around the world and make sure nothing untoward or damaging to the defense of the US was discussed. If it was, the info was passed along to the various intelligence agencies that would deal with it, presumably in a decisive way.
Within AHS were divisions of several intelligence agencies. We also had a mighty fine EM/NCO club and a mess hall that served great chow (way beyond military standards) 24 hours a day...draft beers for a dime all night long, great local bands and then a free breakfast. Whew. But that's another story.
In the very center of the post was a large brick building with lots of antennae on top and three layers of fences, with what passed for razor wire back then and dog patrols. There were three visible check points for entry and God only knows how many beyond the outside access.
I asked my CO what that building was and he told me it was a part of the NSA, the National Security Agency. I asked him what they did in there, behind all those fences.
He said, "They listen."
"To what?" I asked.
"To every phone call made in Northern Virginia."
Huh. Almost forty years ago, they were listening. And now that there's even more of a reason to listen, they're still at it.
Good for the NSA. Keep the creeps off the phones.