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 reported 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 Guardian says it’s not known “whether Verizon is the only cell-phone provider to be targeted with such an order, although previous reporting has suggested the NSA has collected cell records from all major mobile networks. It is also unclear from the leaked document whether the three-month order was a one-off, or the latest in a series of similar orders.”