Details on millions of American phone calls. Records of e-mails, texts, video chats and more from overseas. And pulsing beneath it all, a worrying concern there's more to the government's surveillance programs than what's been acknowledged.
All the revelations about U.S. surveillance programs in recent days have put the government on the defensive, set privacy advocates howling for reform and left millions of Americans somewhere in the middle, wondering what the news means to them and what, if anything, they should do about it.
The man at the top says they should just relax.
"Nobody is listening to your telephone calls," President Barack Obama said Friday as he tried to reassure Americans who have had to digest a dizzying array of revelations in the past few days. Among them:
-- U.S. intelligence agencies are, in fact, collecting details on just about every telephone call placed each day in the United States, U.S. officials confirmed. And they've been doing it for seven years, a senator added.
-- They're also monitoring the online activities of at least some overseas customers of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple and other providers of popular online services.
-- And they may be scooping up credit card data, as well, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people familiar with the operations of the National Security Agency.
U.S. officials say the phone-call data isn't looked at unless investigators sense a tie to terror, and only then on the authority of a judge. And officials say analysts are forbidden from slurping up the Internet activity of American citizens or residents, even when they travel overseas.
The Wall Street Journal said it wasn't clear whether the credit card monitoring was a continuing program or a one-off, and didn't say what analysts did with the information.
Analysts say such information can be analyzed using powerful computers and sophisticated software to detect personal habits and links among groups of people, and to build detailed dossiers on the activities of everyday people.
The government says it is not doing that, but privacy activists say even the limited amount of data collection U.S. officials have acknowledged poses huge threats.
"The problem is its massive surveillance," said author James Bamford, who has written extensively about NSA surveillance programs. "We went through this problem with the Bush administration, warrantless eavesdropping. It was an outrage that government can turn the surveillance on average citizens without any suspicion whatsoever."
"And here, this is an enormous increase in that," he said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" on Thursday. "This is communications that are local. These aren't even international communications at all. These are communications from people speaking to their neighbors, people that are under no suspicion whatsoever."
The American Civil Liberties Union described the programs as "beyond Orwellian."
And the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been fighting the government over surveillance programs for years, is urging a full-scale investigation with an eye toward stopping the surveillance programs for good and reining in U.S. intelligence agencies with new laws and a demand for public oversight.
"The revelations not only confirmed what EFF has long alleged, they went even further and honestly, we're still reeling," the privacy organization said Friday on its blog.
The revelations began Wednesday, when a British newspaper, the Guardian, published a top secret order from an intelligence court that required Verizon Business Network Services to give telephone records detailing the time, location and telephone numbers involved in domestic calls from April 25 to July 19.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation and other analysts said similar orders undoubtedly are in effect for other companies.
The order doesn't allow authorities to listen in on the calls.
National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who denied during a March 12 congressional hearing that the government was engaged in mass data-collection practices involving Americans, blasted the Guardian report, saying it "omits key information" regarding "safeguards that protect privacy and civil liberties."
He said the program operates within the law, respects Americans' privacy and is crucial to preventing attacks. Most of the records are never looked at, and those that are can be reviewed only with judicial approval, he said.
"The collection is broad in scope because more narrow collection would limit our ability to screen for and identify terrorism-related communications. Acquiring this information allows us to make connections related to terrorist activities over time," he said.
Clapper said both Congress and courts have reviewed and authorized the law.
But several congressional critics have complained that the government has made significant use of broad interpretations made in secret by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the judicial body charged with overseeing the government's use of the law.