Huffington Post –
WASHINGTON — A secret U.S. intelligence court renewed an order Friday to continue forcing Verizon Communications to turn over hundreds of millions of telephone records to the government each day in its search for foreign terror or espionage suspects.
The order by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has been in place for years but must be renewed every three months. It was exposed in June after former National Security Agency systems analyst Edward Snowden leaked details of two top secret U.S. surveillance programs that critics say violate privacy rights.
The order was set to expire Friday, and its renewal shows that the Obama administration and the court of 11 federal judges stand behind its legality.
In a statement, the office of National Intelligence Director James Clapper said it was confirming the Verizon renewal as part of an ongoing effort to make more information about the recently declassified programs as public as possible.
Clapper “has decided to declassify and disclose publicly that the government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking renewal of the authority to collect telephony metadata in bulk, and that the court renewed that authority,” the statement said.