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US declassifies phone-snooping order

Source BBC News@

John Inglis deputy director of the National Security Agency, speaks with committee chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) after testifying during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill 31 July 2013 in Washington, DCDeputy director of the NSA John Inglis (left) is among the officials to be questioned by the Senate

The Obama administration has released documents on its phone-snooping, as a Senate panel questions intelligence officials about the programme.

The declassification was made in the "interest of increased transparency", intelligence officials said.

But the three documents include significant redactions.

Meanwhile the father of Edward Snowden, who leaked information about the surveillance, says the FBI has asked him to go to Moscow to see his son.

But Lon Snowden told Russian state TV he wants more details, including the FBI's intentions. His son is a US fugitive sought by the government for revealing details of the electronic snooping by phone and internet.

Blacked out

The documents released on Wednesday include a court order describing how the data from the programmes would be stored and accessed.

Two reports to US lawmakers on the telephone and email records were also declassified.

But lines in the files, including details on "selection terms" used to search the massive data stores, were blacked out.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole told a Senate judiciary committee hearing on Wednesday that the court order spells out how the government can use call data obtained from telecom giants such as Verizon.

It is the first congressional session on the issue since the House narrowly rejected a proposal to effectively shut down the NSA's secretive collection of hundreds of millions of Americans' phone records.

During the early parts of the hearing, NSA deputy director John Inglis said "no" when asked if anyone had been fired over the leak.

"No-one has offered to resign," Mr Inglis said. "Everyone is working hard to understand what happened."

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the committee, also questioned the deputy director on the number of attacks the agency said had been disrupted by the programmes.

General Keith Alexander, the head of the NSA, has said phone and internet surveillance disrupted 54 schemes by militants.

Sen Leahy said a list of the relevant plots provided to Congress does not reflect dozens or, as he said, "let alone 54 as some have suggested".

Mr Inglis said the phone surveillance helped disrupt or discover attacks 12 times, and the larger number were foiled thanks to both the phone-records snooping and a second programme collecting global internet users' data.

In a letter to lawmakers last week, the Obama administration acknowledged there had been an unspecific number of "compliance problems" with the rules governing the secret collection of US phone records.

But the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said no intentional or bad-faith rules violations were found.

Đăng ký: Tieng Anh Vui

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