NSA Collecting Verizon Phone Records of American Customers
By Mark Memmott
The National Security Agency is collecting the telephone records of Verizon customers in the U.S., NPR has confirmed.
The controversial broadening of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court's powers after the Sept. 11, 2011, terrorist attacks is under renewed focus after Wednesday's report that the panel has given the National Security Agency the authority to collect millions of telephone records.
On Morning Edition, NPR's Dina Temple-Raston discussed how "after 9/11, the FISA court's purview was broadened." The court was then given the power to issue secret orders that grant NSA the authority to demand that phone companies hand over "any tangible thing relevant to foreign intelligence or a terrorism investigation," she said.
Until now, it was thought that such orders had almost always been tied to the collection of phone records related to a specific person or target. But Dina says the order uncovered Wednesday (first by The Guardian) has given the NSA "blanket authority to pick up telephone and data business records either in the U.S. between two U.S. numbers of between a U.S. and a foreign [number]."