The National Security Agency has discontinued a surveillance program in the last few months that collected data on US domestic phone records, according to a Republican congressional official.
The USA Freedom Act program might not be re-extended under the Trump administration following a reauthorization requirement at the end of 2018, according to Luke Murry, national security adviser to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
On The Lawfare Podcast, Mr. Murry said that the program has not been used for a while because it was collecting data the NSA did not have the authority to have. The program was only supposed to have the information of the recipients and durations of calls and texts, but not the content of those messages.
“The administration actually hasn’t been using it for the past six months because of problems with the way in which that information was collected,” he said. “Possibly collecting on US citizens in the way that was transferred from private companies to the administration after they got FISA court approval.”
Due to NSA programs being classified, it was unusual for a House Minority staffer to disclose publicly that the program had ended.
The NSA declined to comment to The Washington Times about the program.
Senior Senate Intelligence Committee member Sen. Ron Wyden said that he cannot comment on “media reports” but said the program was “flawed.”
“I cannot comment on classified matters referenced in media reports,” he said in a statement. “However, it is increasingly clear to me that the NSA’s implementation of reforms to the phone records dragnet has been fundamentally flawed. In my view, the administration must permanently end the phone records program and Congress should refuse to reauthorize it later this year.”
The program was a replacement in 2015 to an earlier surveillance program, which was among the programs leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
© Copyright (c) 2019 News World Communications, Inc.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.