U.S. Government Secretly Collects Records of Phone Calls - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

U.S. Government Secretly Collects Records of Phone Calls

How far would the U.S. government go to protect its citizens from terrorism? The British newspaper "The Guardian" broke the news late Wednesday night that the U.S. government has obtained a top secret court order that requires Verizon Business Network Services to turn over telephone records of millions of Americans to the National Security Agency.

This domestic surveillance program falls under the controversial section 215 of the Patriot Act. It gives the government power to spy on ordinary people living in the United States. This latest news has stirred outrage within the Texoma community with many voicing their opinions that the government is invading the privacy of its citizens.

"I think it's wrong. I think it's an invasion of our privacy… and they wouldn't like us to do that" said Texoma resident James Thomas.

Others however, say it does not bother them at all.

"I have nothing to hide" said another Texoma resident Donald Haynes.

Through this four-page order, Verizon is required to turn over any telephone data to the NSA. This includes location, time and duration of the calls made between April 25th and July 19th when the order expires. The content of the phone conversation itself is not included. Government officials say the main purpose is to help fight terrorism and protect the nation from potential threats.

At this point, it is unclear whether this order involves residential or cell phone services. If other phone carriers are included is also unknown.

Two key senators have defended NSA's phone surveillance saying it has been going on for years and has produced results. The Obama administration has also defended the NSA collection of phone records saying "the White House upholds this critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats".

Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel Six.

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