The FBI figured that since they only had a couple of years until the Bushites were kicked out of office, and at least theoretically the return of a society of laws and civil liberties, they might as well scoop up as much surveillance information on every citizen possible. So they did.
FBI sought phone records from associates of its suspects:
WASHINGTON - The FBI cast a much wider net in its terrorism investigations than it has previously acknowledged by relying on telecommunications companies to analyze phone calls of the associates of Americans who had come under suspicion, according to newly obtained bureau records.
The documents indicate that the Federal Bureau of Investigation used secret demands for records to obtain data not only on individuals it saw as targets but also details on their "community of interest" - the network of people that the target in turn was in contact with. The bureau early this year stopped the practice in part because of broader questions raised about its aggressive use of the records demands, which are known as national security letters, officials said Friday after being asked about it.
More here, including:
privacy advocates, civil rights leaders and even some counterterrorism officials warn that link analysis can be misused to establish tenuous links to people who have no real connection to terrorism but may be drawn into an investigation nonetheless. Typically, community of interest data might include an analysis of which people the targets called most frequently, how long they generally talked and at what times of day, sudden fluctuations in activity, geographic regions that were called, and other data, law enforcement and industry officials said.
and for what that really means, remember Mahar Arar?