Everyone’s reading Glenn Greenwald and Spencer Ackerman’s big scoop on the secret court order compelling Verizon to turn over to the NSA basically all its call record data – so not what was said but times of calls, caller and callee, locations and various other metadata of that sort. Here’s what jumped out at me. The order comes immediately after the Boston Marathon bombing.Now, Greenwald noted that it’s possible that this is simply a recurring grant of authority that gets renewed every three months. But for the moment, let’s assume it’s a one-off or at least not simply a renewal of something that was already in place. The piece has the order was graned on April 25th of this year. But it also says that the order granted the government “unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.” That would seem to imply that the request was for access for a three month period from April 19th to July 19th.
The Boston Marathon bombing took place on April 15th. The shoot-out in which Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed took place on the 18th and the younger brother was captured on the 19th.
Now if I were playing the Devil’s Advocate with my theory, I’d say, if this were about the Boston bombing, why would I start right after everyone was in custody? Wouldn’t I want to go back during the plot itself? Possibly there are technical reasons why you can’t go retrospectively like that? This involves technical knowledge I simply lack.
Anyway, to be clear, as I said above this whole question is based on several assumptions that could be wrong. But again, the date seems striking.