President Obama announced last week that he wants to eliminate the NSA database that collects everyone’s telephone records. Instead, the burden will be on phone companies to retain that data, and the government will need a court order for specific information about a call or phone number it believes is associated with terrorism.

Why did the President, who had supported the NSA’s metadata gathering, change his mind? What impact will it have? Has the government ever claimed that the database was used to thwart a terrorist plot? Shouldn’t Obama be thanking Edward Snowden for revealing the NSA’s mass spying apparatus to the public? Do phone companies keep track of every call if you have an unlimited calling plan?

Those are the questions I put to Jacob Sullum, senior editor at Reason magazine, on my America Weekend show. Listen, then click here to subscribe to these podcasts via iTunes!

Previously on Harris Online…