Corker Seeks Explanation From White House For NSA’s Sweeping Collection Of U.S. Phone Records

Thursday, June 6, 2013

In a letter to President Barack Obama on Thursday, Senator Bob Corker, (R-Tn.), ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, sought an explanation regarding reports of the National Security Agency’s collection of U.S. phone records on Verizon’s network of 121 million customers.  A court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court compelled Verizon Communications Inc. to turn over records for all calls placed within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries.

Senator Corker wrote, “On its face, if true, the collection of this massive amount of detailed information about the communications of American citizens raises extremely serious concerns about why such a broad collection is necessary and how this information is used.  The Administration must therefore immediately come to Congress and to the American people to explain whether this story is accurate, what is being collected, what it is used for, and how the privacy and civil liberties of Americans are protected.  Specifically, the Administration should explain exactly why this information is necessary to protect national security, what investigations this information is used for, how this information is stored, who has access to it and under what conditions, and whether and what restrictions apply to the government’s use of this information once it is accessed. Please provide me a briefing on this matter, whether classified or otherwise, by no later than Monday, June 10, 2013.”

Full text of the letter is included below:

June 6, 2013

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President:

According to an article first published in a British newspaper and supported by what purports to be an actual highly classified court order signed by a federal judge serving on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has requested and obtained, on behalf of the National Security Agency, access to the phone records of every American citizen and others on the Verizon network over a three month period.

On its face, if true, the collection of this massive amount of detailed information about the communications of American citizens raises extremely serious concerns about why such a broad collection is necessary and how this information is used.

The Administration must therefore immediately come to Congress and to the American people to explain whether this story is accurate, what is being collected, what it is used for, and how the privacy and civil liberties of Americans are protected.  Specifically, the Administration should explain exactly why this information is necessary to protect national security, what investigations this information is used for, how this information is stored, who has access to it and under what conditions, and whether and what restrictions apply to the government’s use of this information once it is accessed. 

Please provide me a briefing on this matter, whether classified or otherwise, by no later than Monday, June 10, 2013.

Sincerely,

Bob Corker


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