Administration Defends NSA Collecting Phone Records From Verizon - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Administration Defends NSA Collecting Phone Records From Verizon

Posted: Updated:
Washington, D.C. -

(FOX 11 / AP) The Obama administration on Thursday defended the National Security Agency's need to collect telephone records of U.S. citizens, calling such information "a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats."

While defending the practice, a senior administration official did not confirm a newspaper report that the NSA has been collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top secret court order.

The order was granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on April 25 and is good until July 19, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday. 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.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the Obama administration should disclose the facts.

"I think that they have an obligation to respond immediately," said Wyden, a frequent critic of government violations of privacy.

The administration official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to publicly discuss classified matters.

Verizon spokesman Ed McFadden said Wednesday the company had no comment. The NSA had no immediate comment.

Verizon Communications Inc. listed 121 million customers in its first-quarter earnings report this April - 98.9 million wireless customers, 11.7 million residential phone lines and about 10 million commercial lines. The court order didn't specify which type of phone customers' records were being tracked.

Under the terms of the order, the phone numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as are 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 administration official said, "On its face, the order reprinted in the article does not allow the government to listen in on anyone's telephone calls."

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 warrant less 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 provide the NSA with 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.

 

From Hal Eisner:

The Crave Café is on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks. When you walk in you see people reading on sofas, working on their computers… sipping a mocha. On this morning they were finding the news I was bringing them a little hard to swallow!

The government is collecting phone data from millions of Verizon customers as a "tool" to protect the country from terrorists.

Some, like Sam Shepherd, tells me "technically I'm not for it, but I don't want to blow up. I don't want some other country to blow up." But, others don't mince words about their anger over the action. "It's an invasion of privacy" says Josie Garcia. Others like Brian Spencer says "I've got nothing to hide."

Regardless of where you are in this privacy debate there is no question this latest act is triggering a debate.

  • Political NewsMore>>

  • Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption case goes to jury

    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption case goes to jury

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:02:25 GMT
    The corruption case that could send former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife to federal prison was in the hands Tuesday of jurors who must decide whether the couple sold the influence of the office to a wealthy vitamin executive seeking legitimacy for his company's signature product.
    The corruption case that could send former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife to federal prison was in the hands Tuesday of jurors who must decide whether the couple sold the influence of the office to a wealthy vitamin executive seeking legitimacy for his company's signature product.
  • Ex-Va. Gov says he knows in heart he's innocent

    Ex-Va. Gov says he knows in heart he's innocent

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:33 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:33:08 GMT
    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he knows in his heart he's innocent of the federal corruption charges he's facing.
    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he knows in his heart he's innocent of the federal corruption charges he's facing.
  • Rolex passed among jurors in ex-Va. gov trial

    Rolex passed among jurors in ex-Va. gov trial

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:08:18 GMT
    The requests for lavish gifts were frequent. Jonnie Williams — the star witness in a corruption trial against the former Virginia governor and his wife — was being asked for everything from a joy ride in his Ferrari to stock in the company he led.
    The requests for lavish gifts were frequent. Jonnie Williams — the star witness in a corruption trial against the former Virginia governor and his wife — was being asked for everything from a joy ride in his Ferrari to stock in the company he led.
  • Share ThisMore>>

  • myFOX Tech

    iPhone 6: Which Carrier Has The Best Plan For You?

    iPhone 6: Which Carrier Has The Best Plan For You?

    Friday, September 12 2014 6:36 PM EDT2014-09-12 22:36:27 GMT
    With Apple having announced their latest and greatest iPhones this week, carriers have announced new plans and pricing to help you get your hands on a new iPhone. Whether you're staying with your current carrier     or switching, I'll lay it all out for you. 
    With Apple having announced their latest and greatest iPhones this week, carriers have announced new plans and pricing to help you get your hands on a new iPhone. Whether you're staying with your current carrier or switching, I'll lay it all out for you. 
  • myFOX Tech

    Samsung's Gear VR Makes Mobile Virtual Reality, Very Real

    Samsung's Gear VR Makes Mobile Virtual Reality, Very Real

    Friday, September 12 2014 12:40 PM EDT2014-09-12 16:40:08 GMT
    I had the chance to demo Samsung's Gear VR recently. It's a virtual reality headset powered by a smartphone. Don't let that fool you though. It's impressive!
    I had the chance to demo Samsung's Gear VR recently. It's a virtual reality headset powered by a smartphone. Don't let that fool you though. It's impressive!
  • Fire Damages Colossus, The Magic Mountain Roller Coaster

    Fire Damages Colossus, The Magic Mountain Roller Coaster

    [PHOTO GALLERY] A fire on the recently closed Colossus ride at Southern California's Magic Mountain park has collapsed part of the famous wooden roller coaster but there are no reports of injuries.
    [PHOTO GALLERY] A fire on the recently closed Colossus ride at Southern California's Magic Mountain park has collapsed part of the famous wooden roller coaster but there are no reports of injuries.
  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Can President Obama Wage War Without Consent Of Congress?

    Can President Obama Wage War Without Consent Of Congress?

    Friday, September 12 2014 10:38 AM EDT2014-09-12 14:38:11 GMT
    As a U.S. senator from Illinois running for the White House in 2007, Barack Obama sponsored a resolution to prohibit President George W. Bush's administration from taking military action against Iran unless it was explicitly authorized by Congress.
    As a U.S. senator from Illinois running for the White House in 2007, Barack Obama sponsored a resolution to prohibit President George W. Bush's administration from taking military action against Iran unless it was explicitly authorized by Congress.
  • 9/11 Commemoration, Observances

    9/11 Commemoration, Observances

    Thursday, September 11 2014 11:20 PM EDT2014-09-12 03:20:28 GMT

    With the solemn toll of a bell and a moment of silence, the nation paused Thursday to mark the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks at the hallowed site just hours after President Barack Obama promised to root out and destroy a new group of terrorists threatening the U.S.

    With the solemn toll of a bell and a moment of silence, the nation paused Thursday to mark the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks at the hallowed site just hours after President Barack Obama promised to root out and destroy a new group of terrorists threatening the U.S.

  • Obama Outlines Mission To Fight Islamic Militants In Iraq, Syria

    Obama Outlines Mission To Fight Islamic Militants In Iraq, Syria

    Thursday, September 11 2014 10:21 AM EDT2014-09-11 14:21:40 GMT

    For a president criticized as overly cautious and reluctant to lead, Barack Obama is taking a huge risk. He is thrusting U.S. fighting forces into a growing military operation with clear dangers, unknown costs, an indefinite length and unpredictable consequences.

    For a president criticized as overly cautious and reluctant to lead, Barack Obama is taking a huge risk. He is thrusting U.S. fighting forces into a growing military operation with clear dangers, unknown costs, an indefinite length and unpredictable consequences.

Powered by WorldNow

KSAZ-TV & KUTP
511 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Phone: (602) 257-1234
Fax: (602) 262-0177

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices