extreme enthusiasm with which the Obama administration seeks to protect it.
The various phone companies involved are set up technically to grab such information whenever the government asks for it. In investigations of leaks of "national security secrets," the Obama administration has sought twice the number of indictments issued under all previous administrations combined.
The investigation, thought to involve publication of news of a Yemen-based terrorist plot to bomb an airliner, is one of two announced by the Justice Department last June. The other involves leaks to the New York Times about US-initiated cyberattacks on Iranian nuclear facilities. The Times has no knowledge of seized phone records in that case.
What this is really all about is whether the government can intimidate the press. The government wants to be free to decide which of its war-on-the-cheap projects the citizens get to know about. For the moment, we're a nation tired of declared wars and occupations. But our leaders (and particularly our spooks) have lots of places they want to project U.S. power. Maybe some of these efforts actually do protect us. Maybe some of them are monumental screw ups or even crimes that will ultimately make us less safe. None of them can be debated democratically if the government can succeed in hiding them in the name of "national security."
Want to keep on top of these machinations? I suggest reading Marcy Wheeler. She often has the story months before the "news" media.