SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge in San Francisco stopped the destruction of millions of telephone records collected by the National Security Agency more than five years ago.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White, who is overseeing an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against the agency, issued a nationwide order Monday to safeguard evidence until March 19, when he will hold a hearing on extending the deadline further.
The secret federal court that approved the agency's surveillance has required that documents be purged after five years for privacy reasons. On Friday, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court denied the federal government's request to keep the records for the sake of pending lawsuits.
The NSA, which has acknowledged obtaining phone numbers and other information on all U.S. calls, was prepared on Tuesday to destroy all records collected more than five years ago, according to court documents.