The Obama administration on Wednesday made public a previously classified order that directed a company identified by U.S. officials as Verizon Communications to turn over a vast number of Americans’ phone records.
The formerly secret order was unveiled along with other documents by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. as top Obama administration officials were preparing to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing on oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
A statement issued by Clapper’s office said he “has determined that the release of these documents is in the public interest.”
The primary court order sets forth the government’s privacy safeguards for the National Security Agency’s program to collect the bulk phone call detail records of millions of Americans. The order, signed by a judge from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, does not give a detailed explanation of the legal rationale for the program.
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