The National Security Agency listens in on all kind of electronic communications all over the world -- including here in the US. Kinda like the whole world's a party line and they just listen in.
Turns out, US government officials call up the NSA and ask for the names of Americans the agency finds in their intercepted phone calls and e-mails.
Under federal law, your name and identity are supposed to be protected from curious bureaucrats. But the NSA has been turning over all this information without much fuss. The Los Angeles Times reports that since January, 2004, the NSA has fielded 3,000 requests.
That's come as a surprise to your hired hands in Congress.
The practice is in the spotlight because John Bolton -- President Bush's stalled UN Ambassador nominee -- was big into requesting the info himself.
During confirmation hearings, Mr Bolton said he'd made such requests only a couple times -- "maybe a few more."
Turns out, he made at least 10 requests since 2001 personally.
Considering the heat the Bolton nomination has already generated,
But then, the requirements for being a UN Ambassador apparently don't include the ability to count to 10. (LAT)