Heather Ginsberg

Well here’s another scandal ready for the Obama administration. It was revealed today that the National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon. This top secret order was issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

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.

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

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.

Here is just another example of the government overreaching into the lives of millions of Americans without our permission. The Guardian reports:

The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual. Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target who is suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets.

The Guardian approached the National Security Agency, the White House and the Department of Justice for comment in advance of publication on Wednesday. All declined. The agencies were also offered the opportunity to raise specific security concerns regarding the publication of the court order.

The court order expressly bars Verizon from disclosing to the public either the existence of the FBI's request for its customers' records, or the court order itself.

Talk about a breach of privacy! Are you kidding me?! This administration has gone beyond any standards set by other administrations with this new unlimited order. What is it that the administration feels they need these documents for?

A type of data collection similar to this was started after 9/11/01, but was not nearly as widespread or as far reaching as this new order given in April. It seems from this order, the administration is trying to look at Americans’ communication habits and who we are talking to.

This is a whole new low for the Obama administration. Now we are seeing government reaching into our phone records? No longer is it just the media and Fox News reporters, but now every American can be watched by the NSA. Will this finally be what puts Liberals over the edge? They were against it when Bush did a much smaller version. Now we can see how far the hypocrisy goes. Will Jay Carney be able to comment on this? How will the Obama administration defend themselves now?


Heather Ginsberg

Heather Ginsberg is Townhall's web editor and community manager. Follow her on Twitter

@HeatherGinsberg

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography