The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence committee says the top secret court order for telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon is a three-month renewal of an ongoing practice.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California spoke to reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference on Thursday after the Obama administration defended the National Security Agency's need to collect the records.
Other lawmakers have said that the practice is legal under the Patriot Act although civil libertarians have complained about U.S. snooping on American citizens.
Britain's Guardian newspaper reports the order was granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on April 25 and is good until July 19. It requires Verizon on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries.