Thursday, June 6, 2013
The National Security Agency is collecting telephone metadata of U.S. customers of Verizon, first reported The Guardian. The NSA sweeping effort appears to have been in place for years, but The Guardian first published a top secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order just last night. The remarkably short order, issued pursuant to a provision in the PATRIOT Act, 50 U.S.C. Sec. 1861, directs the telecommunications company to turn over "telephony metadata" on communications between its subscribers in the United States and abroad and wholly within the United States. ("Metadata" includes identifying information like the originating and terminating phone numbers, and the time and duration of calls. It does not include the substantive content of the communication or the name, address, or financial information of a subscriber or customer.)
The order also prohibits any person from disclosing that the FBI or NSA sought or obtained any information under the order.
The White House defended the efforts, while reactions on Capitol Hill were mixed. There's a ton of reporting and commentary; here are some links:
- Charlie Savage and Edward Wyatt at the NYT have a nice piece here;
- politico.com has a piece on 5 things you need to know;
- The Guardian has a series of reports, links are here.