Phone, Email, Web Search, Credit Card Data Monitored in Anti-Terror Drive


The National Security Agency’s is using its secret access to the communications of millions of Americans to target possible terrorists, the Wall Street Journal reports. The monitoring includes customer records from the three major phone networks as well as emails and Web searches, and the agency also has cataloged credit-card transactions. The disclosure this week of an order by a secret U.S. court for Verizon Communications Inc.’s phone records set off a public discussion of the program. People familiar with the NSA’s operations said the initiative also encompasses phone-call data from AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp., records from Internet-service providers and purchase information from credit-card providers. Most members of Congress defended them as a way to root out terrorism, but civil-liberties groups decried the program. “The most recent surveillance program is breathtaking. It shows absolutely no effort to narrow or tailor the surveillance of citizens,” said Jonathan Turley, a constitutional law expert at George Washington University.

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