One thing that I don't hear talked about a lot is the fact that the telcos did not give our records to the government; they sold them to the government. Note that the companies were not required to turn over the records to the NSA. If they had been required to cooperate by law, then Qwest would not have had the option not to cooperate.
The companies that did cooperate - AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon - are reported to be operating 'under contract' with the NSA. 'Under contract' means for a consideration. So, it is not unreasonable to infer that there is not a sufficient legal basis to require the phone records to be turned over to the NSA.
And, since the NSA, a government agency, has bought our records, whose money do you think they used to purchase these records? That's right, Einstein. Yours and mine.
Our tax dollars at work.
That should make us all sleep a little better, shouldn't it?