Re: Why (not) IBM
Could not agree more.
IBM management would gladly bend over and spread their cheeks for the US government who are after all one of their biggest customers.
But as you say they don't have much data of interest, and, the data that is interesting to NSA , for example sales of serious hardware to dodgy dictators is routinely reported to various government agencies.
Even if al-Zawahiri had an IBM account, I am fairly sure that information on which red books and CICS support packs he downloaded would add nothing to the NSAs intelligence efforts.
As for the outsourcing -- yes IBM does a lot of this but the data still belongs to the clients. It would be much easier for the NSA to slap an order on the client companies than enter the legal minefield of forcing a corporation to breach thier contractual obligations.