Extra! [em]The Nation[/em] Reads [em]The New York Times[/em]!

In the spirit of New York magazine’s we-almost-revealed-the-JT Leroy-hoax press release a few months back, The Nation‘s publicity director, Mike Webb, fired off a release this afternoon–in the wake of USA Today‘s exclusive NSA data-mining blockbuster–about his own magazine’s coverage of NSA data-mining.

Webb’s message cites the work of writer Tim Shorrock:

In a cover story published on March 1, 2006, Shorrock wrote, “Some (major telecom) companies…have given the NSA a direct hookup to their huge databases of communications records. The NSA, using the same supercomputers that analyze foreign communications, sifts through this data for key words and phrases that could indicate communication to or from suspected terrorists or terrorist sympathizers and then tracks those individuals and their ever-widening circle of associates.”

So was it The Nation that really got the scoop that the NSA is running pattern analysis on the phone calls of tens of millions of Americans? Helpfully, Webb appends the full text of Shorrock’s story, including the relevant passage–in context and without ellipses (emphasis added):

Two months after the New York Times revealed that the Bush Administration ordered the National Security Agency to conduct warrantless surveillance of American citizens, only three corporations–AT&T, Sprint and MCI–have been identified by the media as cooperating. If the reports in the Times and other newspapers are true, these companies have allowed the NSA to intercept thousands of telephone calls, fax messages and e-mails without warrants from a special oversight court established by Congress under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Some companies, according to the same reports, have given the NSA a direct hookup to their huge databases of communications records. The NSA, using the same supercomputers that analyze foreign
communications, sifts through this data for key words and phrases that could indicate communication to or from suspected terrorists or terrorist sympathizers and then tracks those individuals and their ever-widening circle of associates.”