First, I saw this this morning:
Verizon providing all call records to U.S. under court order
The National Security Agency appears to be collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of American customers of Verizon, one of the nation’s largest phone companies, under a top-secret court order issued in April.
The order appears to require a Verizon subsidiary to provide the NSA with daily information on all telephone calls by its customers within the United States and from foreign locations into the United States.
The order, which was signed by a judge from the secret court that oversees domestic surveillance, was first reported on the Web site of the Guardian newspaper. The Web site reproduced a copy of the order, which two former U.S. officials told The Washington Post appears to be authentic…
Then, later, I see that much of official Washington was scrambling to defend the NSA program:
The Obama administration and key U.S. lawmakers on Thursday defended a secret National Security Agency telephone surveillance program that one congressman said had helped avert a terrorist attack in recent years.
The program apparently has collected the telephone records of tens of millions of American customers of Verizon, one of the nation’s largest phone companies, under a top-secret court order.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the court order, issued in April, appears to be “the exact three-month renewal” of the program that has been underway for the past seven years. She said the program is “lawful.”…
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday that the court order in question is a critical tool that allows the intelligence community to know when terrorists or suspected terrorists are engaging in dangerous activities. He says that’s particularly true for people located in the U.S.
He said the order doesn’t allow the government to listen in on calls, but only includes details like telephone numbers…