What was new in the disclosure of the FISA court order to Verizon last week?
See if this pull quote from the New Republic helps:
"…until the Guardian story, it was not clear to the public that the government and the court had read the words “tangible things” and “relevant” so broadly as to permit the bulk pre-collection of records—including in particular “telephony metadata,” which includes all the non-content information pertaining to phone calls, such as the numbers involved and the physical location of the phones as indicated by the cell towers—much less that the government had been collecting such data for all calls within the United States and doing so for the past seven years, according to the leaders of the Senate intelligence committee.
This revelation is important for two interrelated reasons. First, it is simply different and grander in scope and scale from anything we had thought the law meant…Second, if the government is going to collect all metadata domestically—even if subject to minimization procedures and in a carefully-limited fashion—that authority should be the subject of public debate. "-Robert Chesney, Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Lawhttp://www.newrepublic.com/article/113427/nsa-spying-scandal-one-leak-more-damaging-other#