Originally Posted by needforspeed
If the NSA suspect someone of having links to al qaeda then they would presumably apply for a warrant to monitor their calls.
If a call came in to an entirely unknown person then unless they monitored everyones phone calls they wouldn't intercept it anyway.
So all that would be necessary is to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the judge issuing the warrant that their suspicions were justified. It's just a check and balance surely so that the NSA don't have absolute free reign to monitor peoples calls without reason.
It's not like getting a warrant would take a long time is it. In the UK a warrant can be got 24 hours a day within a matter of minutes (if you are prepared to wake up a magistrate or judge).
It takes a lot more than a few minutes to obtain a warrant here. Sometimes you have to wait hours for lazy judges to just to get back from "lunch". Other times you may have to drive hours to find a judge when it is off hours. The program is a computer which monitors all calls and looks for certain "buzz" words. When a "buzz" word is detected the system alerts a human intelligence analyst who the monitors the conversation. I.E. the computer picks up a conversation in which one party is oversees and says "bomb the Brooklyn Bridge". A human immediately would then be forwarded that conversation for analysis to determine if it is serious and action needs to be taken. Could you imagine in those few seconds to type up a warrant (which must contain sufficiently specific information about the item you want to search or seize) find a judge, swear in front of the judge, have the judge review your warrant, and have the judge sign the warrant. Remember when it comes to search warrants in the U.S., the only information the judge can consider is what is on the warrant. You cannot call the judge and tell him what is going on, it has to be in writing contained in the warrant (four corners rule). I don't think you understand how this works. Real life is not this utopia you think it is.