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Phone Companies Gave NSA Millions of Call Records

The nation's largest phone companies -- AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth -- reportedly have been providing the National Security Agency with call records of millions of Americans. The agency says it has not recorded or listened to the calls, but is using them to form a database to detect potential terrorist activity.

The new allegations that the NSA has broadened its scope from intercepting international communications to compiling a domestic telephone database without any judicial oversight first appeared in USA Today. The paper cited anonymous sources who charge that the NSA has compiled telephone calling records for tens of millions of Americans.

The reports sparked outrage on Capitol Hill, where the former head of the NSA, Gen. Michael Hayden, will soon undergo confirmation hearings for his recent nomination to head the CIA.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Larry Abramson is NPR's National Security Correspondent. He covers the Pentagon, as well as issues relating to the thousands of vets returning home from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.