An internal memo sent out Thursday from a Verizon vice president told employees that Verizon is ‘required to comply’ with NSA surveillance requests.
The Guardian revealed Wednesday evening that Verizon was being forced via secret court order to silently hand over to the NSA the phone records of millions of Americans inside of the U.S.
Randy Milch, Verizon’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, addressed the article in an internal memo to employees Thursday morning, stating that the company “continually takes steps to safeguard customers’ privacy.”
“Nevertheless, the law authorizes the federal courts to order a company to comply with certain circumstances, and if Verizon were to receive such an order,” he said, “we would be required to comply.”
Milch’s memo, which states that the company has no comment on the accuracy of The Guardian’s story, was made public on the Verizon Public Policy blog Thursday.
Verizon declined The Daily Caller’s request for comment.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein confirmed during a Capitol Hill press conference on Thursday morning that the court order was “the exact three month renewal of what has been the case for the past seven years.”
“This renewal is carried out by the FISA Court under the business records section of the Patriot Act,” sh e said. “Therefore, it is lawful.”
Administration talking points assembled last night in response to The Guardian article defended the tactic as “a critical tool in protecting the United States from terrorist threats to the United States.”
The NSA’s secret domestic phone surveillance started under George W. Bush administration as a response to 9/11 was first revealed in 2005.
The agency, chartered by the Truman administration to conduct foreign signals intelligence was first discovered to have engaged in illegal domestic spying by the Senate “Church Committee” in 1975.
House Intel Chairman Mike Rogers defended the tactic during a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday, stating that the NSA’s secret collection of Verizon’s domestic phone records successfully prevented a “significant domestic terrorist attack” “within the last few years.”