They also noted that the NSA couldn’t go hunting for just anything.
Inglis started with the most controversial program that Snowden had revealed: the bulk collection of telephone “metadata,” as authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
Moreover, if the metadata revealed that an American had called a suspected terrorist’s number, just 22 people in the entire NSA—20 line personnel and two supervisors—could request and examine more data about the phone number. ” The much-vaunted metadata program seemed to be tightly controlled, did not track all phone calls in America, and hadn’t unearthed a single terrorist. Inglis replied that just because it hadn’t produced results so far didn’t mean it wouldn’t in the future.