Obama's NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers

Obama's NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers

If you’re a Verizon customer, your phone records are being collected by Obama’s National Security Agency.  On Wednesday, Glenn Greenwald reported at the UK Guardian that the NSA is collecting telephone records of millions of Verizon customers on a daily basis under a top secret order that was issued in April.

The order requires Verizon to give information on all calls in its system to the NSA on an “ongoing, daily basis” until it expires on July 19.

“The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing,” Greenwald wrote.

The order requires that the numbers of both parties on a call are to be handed over, as well as location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls.  The order does not require the content of conversations and covers calls within the United States and between the U.S. and foreign countries.

Greenwald said the Guardian “approached the National Security Agency, the White House and the Department of Justice for comment in advance of publication on Wednesday.”

All of the agencies declined to comment, as did Verizon.

The order forbids Verizon from disclosing the existence of the order.

News of the order sparked outrage on both sides of the political aisle.

“In digital era, privacy must be a priority. Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?” asked former Vice President Al Gore.

Twitchy said that Twitter users “joined Gore in a rare fit of bipartisanship to bash what could be the latest addition to a growing line of Obama administration scandals.”

“Jay Carney tomorrow: Blanket surveillance should comfort you. Don’t you want to be warm and cozy? Blankets are fuzzy,” tweeted Ben Shapiro.

In another report, Twitchy said that many Twitter users “suspect that other telecom carriers have been providing records to NSA, too.”

Greenwald observed that Congress investigated the surveillance activities of the U.S. government in the 1970s for the first time.

“Back then,” he wrote, “the mandate of the NSA was that it would never direct its surveillance apparatus domestically.”

But Frank Church, the Democratic senator from Idaho who oversaw the investigative committee, warned: “The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.”

The order can be seen here.

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Joe Newby

Joe Newby

Joe Newby is an IT professional. He has written for Conservative Firing Line, Examiner, NewsBusters, and Spokane Faith and Values.

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