In the first place, there was NO SUCH THING as “meta-data” in 1981. It and content of data communications DID NOT EXIST as we know it today. in 1979 the first real PCs were available (Apple ][ computers), TI 99 and Atari. There was no email (as we know it today – we did email on a VMS system within the Agency where I worked, by the way for Ronald Reagan). In the second place, Reagan NEVER envisioned spying on citizens. That is merely a loophole that others “discovered”. This is why “Executive Orders” SHOULD BE SUSPECT EVERY TIME ONE IS SIGNED!
“President Ronald Reagan enacted Executive Order 12333 in 1981. The order was aimed at providing a lax legal standard for the collection of communication content —not just metadata such as call logs—of US citizens, as long as the communication was not obtained within the United States.”