They say that they won't look at the records without a good reason.
They previously lied and tried to cover up that they were collecting the phone records of all Americans, what makes you think we can trust them to not look at the data they have collected, whenever it suits the government to do so?
Clapper denied collecting phone records on millions of Americans
Clapper was previously an executive for Booz Allen.
The reason for the NSA's Mass Surveillance programs is to suppress political dissent, they are not anti-terror measures.
Why didn't the authorities stop the Boston bombing with all of the intel they had and are now collecting on everyone?
There was plenty of evidence that the elder brother was a substantive threat and the FBI had had contact with him for at least 2 years before contact was "dropped" after his 6 month visit to the Caucasus.
His activities in the Caucasus included attendance at, at least one Islamic Extremist conference in Georgia, with the main speakers being Islamic hate preachers.
The Russians warned at least three times that he was a threat and to watch him.
But the authorities didn't watch him. Why not?
The reason the authorities didn't stop Boston is because anti-terror is not the priority.
They would rather use the 4,000+ private contract staff and who knows how many NSA staff, to go after domestic political dissenters.
Edward Snowden was a private contractor working for Booz Allen who had top secret clearance.
(A third of private contractors have top secret clearance.)
Snowden claims that he had authorisation to snoop and listen in on anyone "Federal judges, even the President".
The FBI have already tried to label Occupy protesters as "domestic terrorists".
When the FBI were pursuing and harassing Occupy, what makes you think that the FBI did not go to the NSA and ask "what have you got on these people".
Or "can you help us identify others".
NSA "why we sure can - we've got LOADS of data going back 7 years - we'll get back to you tomorrow."
The authorities will do the same against Monsanto protesters or attendees at gun rights rallies etc.
Anything the government doesn't like, any political dissenters.
Similarly the government will try and use this information on any civil rights activists like the ACLU.
The FBI getting a spy in the camp of the ACLU would be a coup.
There is probably someone in the top levels that has something to hide and can be blackmailed to provide information on what the ACLU is planning to do, or provide some information on some other top level person.
If they can't get a top level person, they will work on the next level down or secretaries etc.
But it gets worse.
The government and party leaders have always kept dossiers on politicians to use as leverage to make sure "they vote the right way".
Now they have access to :-
all their phone records
the contents of every phone call made
their social media interactions
their voice mails
their electronic financial transactions
They also have access to the same data for all their staffers.
What makes you think the government won't use this information if they want to swing a tight vote?
Similarly they will keep dossiers on all State Party leaders, National Committee members and legislators.
But it gets worse.
What makes you think the NSA does not have a surveillance dossier on every TV anchor and media personality?
What makes you think the government won't try and use the above information to try and ensure the media stick to the "government's story".
(Obviously most of the media personalities won't be able to be blackmailed, but some will. If they can't blackmail the actual media personality, maybe they can get something on their partner or their kids. Threatening to go after their teenage kid for smoking dope and jailing them would be a powerful weapon.)
But it gets worse.
What makes you think the NSA does not have a dossier on every Federal judge?
What makes you think the government won't try and use the above information to ensure "the right verdict" on any sensitive cases?
If there is any doubt, a Federal judge will be appointed that CAN be blackmailed into delivering the "right verdict".
But it gets worse.
What makes you think the NSA does not have a dossier on every member of SCOTUS?
What makes you think the government won't try and use the above information to ensure "the right verdict"?
If all of the above is not happening now, and I am pretty sure it is, what makes you think the President who takes office in 2017 won't do it?
NOBODY knows who that will be.
The time to speak out against this is NOW.
Woo Me With Science put this better than me :-
"The storage of the collected surveillance data is the most egregiously fascistic aspect of this. They are creating a database on every single citizen's communication and activities. Those who don't see the danger in that are either rank apologists, or they have not thought through the possibilities.
Citizen 1,675,402 begins to look a little too angry or activist, and it will be no trouble at all to search through the data and find some reason, somewhere, to call the local officers to check out some violation from 2013. To arrest, and have someone disappear.
It offers an entire infrastructure for pre-emptive silencing of opposition to the government, even before it has a chance to materialize. And for those who are implementing an agenda of corporate, profit-centered and human-exploiting policies that will cause widespread impoverishment and rage, this is exactly the sort of system that will offer tremendous temptations for abuse to prevent the inevitable pushback.
We saw already what the government did to proactively target Occupy. This surveillance program violates the fundamental trust Americans are supposed to have in their representative government. It is deeply disturbing, creepy as hell, and ALL Americans should be standing together now to stop it."
See also my previous articles on the subject of the NSA's Mass Surveillance programs.
The details of the NSA's Mass Surveillance program, plus various relevant articles and videos
All the infrastructure a Tyrant would need, courtesy of Bush, Obama and Congress
Prism: How the NSA wiretapped the Internet
Glenn Greenwald's latest (excellent) interview with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now
William Binney from 2012 on Stellar Wind, the NSA and the dangers of a Mass Surveillance Stasi state.
Binney was a 32 year veteran in the NSA, who resigned and blew the whistle after 911, when foreign intelligence systems were turned inwards to spy on Americans.