W.B.: Well because it illuminated all of the extraneous material of seven billion people in the world and they're only focused down on targets of interests and a very finite zone of suspicion around them in terms of the relationships in the world and so that was easily definable by the meta data being used to communicate in phone numbers or email addresses or bank account transfers or things like that.
So it was a fairly focused attack on data and it made the problem of the volume of communications in the world a manageable problem by the numbers of people we had; whereas the bulk collection simply inundates them with a flood of data that they can't possibly get through every day.
R.K.: So at dinner last night I brought up the idea that maybe this is hoarding behavior like we see on these reality TV shows. People are stuck with this obsessive idea that they have to hold on to and collect everything and keep it.
W.B.: I am sure that that's part of it but I think the other part is they have another alternative motive for collecting everything and that's for law enforcement.
Now law enforcement might want to have the ability to investigate anybody in this country or anybody in any other country and so in which case you would want to collect all the data about everybody in the world and that's basically what they're doing so that would be very useful to law enforcement and we have known the FBI, I mean Director Mueller said that in his interview with Bart Gellman in March of 2011 they had been using these Stellar Wind domestic spying programs for the FBI since 2001 and that's to retroactively analyze everything that anybody in the United States, any citizen is doing, or anybody else when they're in the United States.
R.K.: Now Stellar Wind who is the replacement for your Thin Thread program, that was this giant haystack approach, right?
W.B.: Well they took part of the Thin Thread program to use it to run the Stellar Wind program. Because it was able to handle massive amounts of data and so they simply flooded it with massive amounts of data on domestic and international - well Stellar Wind program focused specifically on domestic communications within the United States. They had other programs to do the foreign, that was how they labeled programs or processes. The real software running was the same in both cases it was just different inputs and those different inputs then made it a different program name.
R.K.: And that really had to do with the way that you looked at the information. In your talk yesterday you described how your approach - you basically qualify somebody to be of interest if they've had any contact with other people who are qualified as of interest and can't tell who they are until you get a court order getting permission to do it or something like that?