CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER….Greg Sargent talked to BellSouth’s spokesman today, and he confirmed that they are contemplating legal action if USA Today refuses to retract its story alleging that BellSouth turned over customer records to the NSA:

This is interesting, and here’s why. I’m no lawyer, but I’ve gotta think that such a legal battle could result in a lengthy discovery process that could force some of this stuff into the public domain. Who knows whether this will happen, but it at least seems possible.

This could just be a bluff, of course, but it’s a pretty peculiar bluff. After all, this won’t stop any of the lawsuits that have been filed against BellSouth, and they could have just kept their mouths shut if they wanted to. Why ask for even more trouble?

In a related vein, Paul Kiel and Justin Rood explore the possibility that the NSA actually worked with third-party billing and equipment vendors, not with the telcos themselves. Eric Umansky suggests something similar. This doesn’t quite seem to add up to me, but you never know. It’s a possibility.