Curiouser and curiouser (Update)
Qwest says they flat-out didn’t oblige NSA’s request for phone records. Bell South and Verizon are now saying “We Never!” That leaves AT&T holding the bag, but probably not for long.
So are the phone companies lying? Only if there is an elaborate agreement in place to have each org cover the @ss of the other, which would eventually leak out or be exposed in court proceedings. Too risky.
If they’d placed access points in the right places nothing stops the NSA from grabbing the data without corporate consent, but that really is “warrantless wiretapping.”
Maybe the use of a data broker like ChoicePoint (just as an example)?