You might have already been sent this Rawstory advance preview of Lawrence Wright’s article on a purported US government plan to “giv[e] the government the authority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer or Web search.” The article is slated to appear in this week’s New Yorker (but not online). Within a few minutes of posting to Slashdot, the Rawstory preview showed up on a couple of listservs I’m on and has generally spread far and wide at a rapid clip. I suspect we’ll see a lot more about this in the next few days.

Frankly, I’m skeptical about the central claim. But I’m also curious enough that I just went to a bookstore, a coupe of magazine stands, and a library trying to find the latest New Yorker. No dice, unfortunately. Rawstory has failed to deliver the goods on hyped stories before, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a bit of pot stirring here. On the other hand, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell isn’t a fan of the Fourth Amendment, and we’ve got a fair bit of evidence that NSA has (or has attempted to) engage in “dragnet” surveillance of Internet traffic before. I suppose I really shouldn’t be surprised if they really are planning to expand the infrastructure required for wholesale surveillance. You can be sure to read more about it here when I can put my hands on the article.