The NSA is recording the calls of all Verizon customers. Verizon is forced to turn over records, including location and duration of every call made. The information gathered does not require a warrant to access.
Julian Sanchez, a surveillance expert with the Cato Institute, explained: "We've certainly seen the government increasingly strain the bounds of 'relevance' to collect large numbers of records at once — everyone at one or two degrees of separation from a target — but vacuuming all metadata up indiscriminately would be an extraordinary repudiation of any pretence of constraint or particularized suspicion." The April order requested by the FBI and NSA does precisely that.
An administration official close White House defended the move off the record, saying it is "a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats."
Al Gore's comments did not share the same perspective on Twitter.