The telecom industry has always had a cozier relationship with government, dating back to its days as a regulated monopoly called Ma Bell. It's used to cooperating with requests from officials, since it used to be required to as a condition of its privileged status, and still needs to work with agencies like the Federal Communications Commission for access to public airwaves. That's why public interest advocates tend to complain about regulatory capture: There's a well-oiled revolving door between the big telecom companies and senior government positions (conveniently, Verizon's chief security officer used to work for the FBI). By contrast, the Internet is a less regulated realm—partly because it's newer—and zealously guards its freedom. Internet companies tend to exchange staff with groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, instead of regulatory agencies and the security state.
Joshua Foust offered a few quick thoughts on why public outrage shouldn't be directed at the Obama administration, and why nothing will actually change now that the public knows about the information collection:
All of the opprobrium you should feel at the government's ridiculously broad surveillance powers needs to be directed at CONGRESS, which keeps approving them while voting they stay secret.
No one will respond to this by voting out their representatives or Senators during the next election because, despite the temporary outcry, Americans (including the Congressmen and Senators who tried to add amendments) don't care about this very much.
None of you will stop voluntarily giving Verizon (or AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.) your personal information out of the fear that they might be legally compelled to hand it over to an intelligence agency through a legal process. Because, at the end of the day, you really don't care about this very much either. At least, you don't care enough to go out of your way to change it.
Ed Morrissey of Hot Air explored the possible administration reactions to the Guardian report, concluding that it will most certainly look into the source of the information:
Of course there will be a leak investigation. After all, there was a leak, no? Leak investigations in and of themselves aren't all that controversial — it's the method of investigation that has been the scandal. [Pete] Williams reports that Eric Holder told him that he's not interested in prosecuting reporters as leakers, which is the opposite of what the Holder-approved warrant on James Rosen claimed in three different federal courts, which named him as a co-conspirator in espionage in order to gain unlimited access to his e-mail and other communications records. On the AP case, the DoJ bypassed the federal regulations covering media records seizures, which is why someone on the Morning Joe set sardonically comments that this isn't likely to make reporters feel any better.
Will the DoJ name Glenn Greenwald a spy in their warrant when they get around to investigating the leak? After all, the leak put counter-terrorism strategies into the open, which is the core of the "aiding the enemy" construct in the Bradley Manning trial, and the nature of the material is much more sensitive than Rosen sought in the Kim case. Stay tuned, and maybe Glenn should start thinking about covert communication strategies, too.