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Report: Obama administration collects phone records of millions of Verizon customers

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:07 a.m. HST, Jun 06, 2013

WASHINGTON » The National Security Agency currently is collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top secret court order, Britain's Guardian newspaper said Wednesday.

The order was granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on April 25 and was good until July 19, the newspaper said. The order requires Verizon, one of the nation's largest telecommunications companies, on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries.

The newspaper said the document, a copy of which it had obtained, shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of U.S. citizens were being collected indiscriminately and in bulk, regardless of whether they were suspected of any wrongdoing.

The Associated Press could not authenticate the order because documents from the court are classified.

Verizon spokesman Ed McFadden said Wednesday the company had no comment. The White House declined comment and referred questions to the NSA. The NSA had no immediate comment.

Under the terms of the order, the phone numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered, The Guardian said.

The broad, unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is unusual. FISA court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets. NSA warrantless wiretapping during the George W. Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks was very controversial.

The FISA court order, signed by Judge Roger Vinson, compelled Verizon to produce to the NSA electronic copies of "all call detail records or telephony metadata created by Verizon for communications between the United States and abroad" or "wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls," The Guardian said.

The law on which the order explicitly relies is the "business records" provision of the USA Patriot Act.

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Maneki_Neko wrote:
This Big Brother intrusion on our privacy as US citizens keeps getting worse and worse. Meanwhile our drones kill Americans without due process.
on June 5,2013 | 06:36PM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Americans ask for protection from terrorist. Don't they use phones?
on June 5,2013 | 09:54PM
hawaiikone wrote:
How long will you ignore the obvious? We're allowing an out of control government to manipulate our lives, and as more stories like this one emerge, it only verifies that reality.
on June 6,2013 | 06:38AM
Skyler wrote:
Aiyaaah. What's next?
on June 5,2013 | 07:01PM
serious wrote:
Skyler, I agree. Every day it's another scandal. I dread reading the Obama news. I would like to see him on a TV press conference--just like the debates where he has 4 minutes to answer--usually he wallows 20 minutes around the question and "time is up press"!!!
on June 5,2013 | 07:08PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
If it is legal under the onerous Patriot Act, how exactly is it a "scandal"? I hate that our government has the right to do this under legislation supported and passed by both of our political parties, but if it is powers specifically granted by Congress and signed by both a Republican and Democratic President, that doesn't make it a scandal... just disgusting.
on June 6,2013 | 07:32AM
Pacej001 wrote:
How about scandalous hypocrisy? If memory serves, when this issue was owned by the GOP, the left went into a full Bush-is-Hitler outrage.
on June 6,2013 | 07:48AM
volcanohereicome wrote:
Time to change wireless carriers. If everyone did that, Verizon would go bankrupt & it would be directly linked to this mess.
on June 5,2013 | 07:40PM
thepartyfirst wrote:
Time to change the Administration like yesterday.
on June 5,2013 | 08:14PM
HD36 wrote:
Is there going to be a big terrorist event or are there terrorist cells forming in the US? Who do they consider a terrorist? Is it anyone who voted for Ron Paul or people moving their assets abroad legally? I thought Obama was supposed to be the most transparent president in history.
on June 5,2013 | 07:46PM
niimi wrote:
And there was this supposed uproar about the Bush Administration and that overbearing Patriot Act. Obama's use of the Patriot Act makes Bush look very tame.
on June 5,2013 | 08:19PM
Brixac3 wrote:
Obama campaigned on how the Patriot Act was an intrusion on the privacy of Americans. After taking office, he expanded the reach of the Patriot Act. People need to stop giving him a pass and pay attention to what he's really been doing before it's too late. I'm concerned that we may already be too late. Add this to the misuse of the IRS, putting the IRS in charge of enforcement of Obama Care, the no answer to the use of drones on U.S. citizens, the admitted killing of U.S. citizens without a trial because they were near a known terrorist, the instability of the middle ease, the Benghazi terrorist attack on 9/11 2013, the ballooning of the national debt and all the other ridiculous things he's been caught doing and been given a pass. We are about to reap what has been sown over the past 5 years.
on June 5,2013 | 10:10PM
brusselsprouts wrote:
absolutely pathetic. now the Chinese knows all the phone calls made by american citizens who have verizon as their carrier. wth? this is a back stabbing act against the American Constitution if that means anything to the white house, nsa and verizon ceo.
on June 5,2013 | 10:11PM
gary360 wrote:
Just the start of his dictatorship.
on June 6,2013 | 02:03AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Someone is out of control in DC.
on June 6,2013 | 05:41AM
primowarrior wrote:
No one likes this type of intrusion, especially in our country, but I get the feeling that if a major terrorist attack did occur, the Obama administration would be blamed for not doing enough.
on June 6,2013 | 07:51AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
This really does not make sense. CNN had reported a few years back that the government's Cray computers were used to monitor all international phone conversations in real time and extracts conversations based on keyword searching. It almost sounds like the information request is going to be used as domestic evidence and not proactive detection. Obama and Feinstein are turning out to be worse than Bush when it comes to spying on US citizens.
on June 6,2013 | 07:59AM
AhiPoke wrote:
Big government = Big brother. It's now becoming clear that obama's efforts to have big goverment control most of our lives is taking effect. Obama has led more citizens to become dependant on the government than any president before him. This mindless mass will eventually have no choice but to follow whatever the goverment says in order to get their welfare and food stamps.
on June 6,2013 | 08:03AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
We are giving up so much privacy in the name...the illusion...of safety.
on June 6,2013 | 08:03AM
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