Damage Control: US Declassifies Phone Program
After a report from the UK based “Guardian” claimed that the United States had ordered Verizon to hand over millions of phone records from U.S. citizens. Intelligence official James Clapper has declassified the phone program in what looks like an attempt to try and tamper some of the uproar from this program.
As well as declassifying this information they have also stated that the information being taken was legal, necessary for the safety of Americans, as well as ‘limited in scope’. In a statement submitted late last night. The statement comes as a contradiction to many since the government has admitted to collecting the phone records of over a hundred million Americans.
Through the declassification by U.S. Official James Clapper, it was revealed;
The program is conducted under authority granted by Congress and is authorized by the Foreign intelligence Surveillance Court which determines the legality of the program.
The information acquired is overseen by the Justice Department and the FISA court. Only a very small fraction of the records are ever reviewed, he said.
The program is reviewed every 90 days.
According to the Guardian;
The Verizon order, granted by the secret FISA court on April 25 and good until July 19, requires information on the phone numbers of both parties on a call, as well as call time and duration, and unique identifiers, The Guardian reported.
However, it does not authorize looking into the content of phone calls or listening into personal conversations. Instead it is meant to “analyze them for patterns, spot unusual behavior and identify communities of interest”. If the government identifies numbers that they believe are tied to terrorism, they can then go back to the court with a wire tap request which would allow them to record the conversations in “real time”.
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