The U.S. government has obtained a top secret court order that requires Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of Americans to the National Security Agency on an “ongoing daily basis,” the UK-based Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday.
The four-page order, which The Guardian published on its website, requires the communications giant to turn over “originating and terminating” telephone numbers as well as the location, time and duration of the calls. The order, published on the newspaper’s website, does not require the contents of conversations to be turned over.
CNN has so far been unable to independently verify the authenticity of the document.
If genuine, the order gives the NSA blanket access to the records of millions of Verizon customers’ domestic and foreign phone calls made between April 25, when the order was signed, and July 19, when it expires.
Verizon spokesman Edward McFadden declined to comment on the report.
According to the document published by The Guardian, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court Judge Roger Vinson signed a “Secondary Order” granting an FBI request for access to the records.
“As far as we know, this order from the FISA court is the broadest surveillance order to ever have been issued: it requires no level of suspicion and applies to all Verizon subscribers anywhere in the U.S.,” the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement released shortly after the story broke.
Reacting to Wednesday’s disclosure, the American Civil Liberties Union called for an immediate end to the order and a congressional investigation into the move.
“It’s a program in which some untold number of innocent people have been put under the constant surveillance of government agents,” Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU’s deputy legal director, said.
“It is beyond Orwellian, and it provides further evidence of the extent to which basic democratic rights are being surrendered in secret to the demands of unaccountable intelligence agencies.”
As an AT&T subscriber, I’d like to thank Judge Vinson. Verizon customers can’t be trusted. And don’t get me started on T-Mobile and Sprint subscribers. Line ‘em all up against the wall and shoot ‘em.
Aggie and I have trouble nailing exactly which presidents Obama resembles in his demeanor and policies. But I think I can safely say it’s all of them.
He’s like Bush in continuing most of his policies—foreign and domestic—against terrorism and Islamic extremism; he’s like Clinton in Big Government, nanny-state interventionism; Bush 41 in muscling Israel to concede territory and security; Reagan… not at all; Carter in economic malaise and low morale; and Nixon in all other ways. Oh yeah, Eisenhower in his obsession with golf, and Truman in winning an election he should have lost. And Kennedy in giving grandiloquent speeches in Berlin that amount to next to nothing.
PS: And Roosevelt in wasteful government projects and packing the court.
PPS: And Herbert Hoover, naturally.