FCC won't probe NSA use of phone records

May 24, 2006 at 9:02 AM

WASHINGTON, May 24 (UPI) -- Citing secrecy concerns, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will not investigate the National Security Agency's monitoring of telephone calls.

The FCC decision Tuesday angered Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who had requested the agency determine whether the NSA was violating the Constitution, USA Today reported Wednesday.

"The FCC has abdicated its responsibility to protect Americans' privacy to the National Security Agency without even asking a single question about it," Markey said.

In a letter to Markey, FCC Chaorman Kevin Martin quoted John Negroponte, the director of National Intelligence, and Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA's director, that disclosure of such information could "cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States," and therefore the FCC would not become involved.

USA Today reported May 11 that the NSA secretly collected call records with the help of AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth even before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks. Verizon and BellSouth released statements last week denying they provided the NSA with call information.

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