Before 9/11, a friend of mine who worked at communications in the military and would listen/check for key words that come across. He could not dilly dally and listen to conversations that long in his “area” but if the right set of key words came across his superiors would start listening.
This “super secret organization” (Which I guess some people are still naive about) were listening for signs of terrorism as well as working with the DEA and the “War on Drugs”.
Wiretapping now is a lot easier to do since 9/11 because “restrictions” have been wiped out but that has not changed the fact that our government never did sweep the phone lines before 9/11. Again are you kidding me? Of course they could NOT USE these taps in a court of law but “knowledge” is power if you want to cheat a little to get some legal probable cause/or in terrorism case protect the country.
What goes out into the air/lines could possibly be “accidentally” picked up and this is somehow a new revelation to you. My you are one trusting individual, government has never fudged on the "law" or bent it, keep living the dream.
This is not very reassuring. They certainly missed the biggest terrorist attack on our country, didn't they?