Who knew the federal government was snooping on our private phone calls?
Movie actor Shia LaBeouf, that’s who — and he revealed what he had recently learned about telephone surveillance five years ago on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
The clip of LaBeouf, who was 21 at the time, was unearthed and posted on YouTube this past week. It’s a footnote to the story that broke at the beginning of the week that huge government computers were collecting, analyzing and cross-checking data stemming from millions of phone calls made by ordinary Americans.
But it is interesting that before this week and the revelations of Edward Snowden, at least portions of this surveillance story were known to others (and even widely reported, as the Wall Street Journal noted several times this week).
Interest in the 2008 LaBeouf clip from “The Tonight Show” grew to such an extent this week that Jay Leno himself showed it on the show, but true to form for Leno, it was incorporated into a comedy bit.
Apparently, the actor had learned about the government’s phone-spying capabilities from an FBI agent who was working as a consultant on a movie LaBeouf was in. In the clip, LaBeouf says the FBI man told him that at least one in five phone calls are recorded by the feds.
It’s not revealed specifically in the clip, but since the “Tonight Show” appearance was in 2008, we think the movie LaBeouf was talking about (and probably promoting) was “Eagle Eye,” a movie that was about the uses of tracking technology, electronic surveillance and the like. In fact, Leno’s comedy bit from this past week incorporated snippets of that movie.