News Release

Millions of Domestic Phone Records Collected by Government

Glenn Greenwald reports in the Guardian: “The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecom providers, under a top secret court order issued in April. …

“Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered. …

“Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA, but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice on a massive scale under President Obama. …

“The law on which the order explicitly relies is the so-called ‘business records’ provision of the Patriot Act, 50 USC section 1861. That is the provision which [Sen. Ron] Wyden and [Sen. Mark] Udall have repeatedly cited when warning the public of what they believe is the Obama administration’s extreme interpretation of the law to engage in excessive domestic surveillance.”

THOMAS DRAKE, tadrake at earthlink.net, @Thomas_Drake1
Available for a limited number of interviews, Drake was a senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency. He said today: “Been hollering into the deep dark shadows of the surveillance state since October 2001 and then via the press starting in 2006 about this Orwellian threat.

“Now we have an order for ALL call records from millions upon millions of Verizon subscribers without probable cause just because the government wants them.

“Talk about profiling.

“FISA court is truly a rubber stamp. Section 702 of the FAA [FISA Amendments Act] (renewed just a few months ago WITHOUT any change) was the barn door. Said it then, will keep saying it.” Drake also stated that FISA — Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — should change its name to simply “the Surveillance Court.”

Last year Drake successfully concluded a legal ordeal with the federal government, including an Espionage Act centered indictment over the past several years. He blew the whistle on vast illegal electronic surveillance and data mining inside the U.S. and other government wrongdoing. He recently received awards for his role as a whistleblower. He has warned of “a key decision made shortly after 9/11, which began to rapidly turn the United States of America into the equivalent of a foreign nation for dragnet blanket electronic surveillance.”

SHAHID BUTTAR, media at bordc.org, also via Samantha A. Peetros, speetros at bordc.org, @bordc
Buttar is executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. He is closely following these issues and wrote the piece “Clapper v Amnesty: Courts and Congress v Our Constitution” about a related recent Supreme Court ruling.