WASHINGTON, July 28 (UPI) -- The National Security Agency will not be allowed to search a database of metadata collected of American's domestic calling records past Nov. 29 and will later purge the information.
The NSA was allowed to resume the collection of domestic cell phone records for at least five more months during a transitional period for the agency to find a new system of intelligence gathering, despite a federal appeals court ruling in June that determined the surveillance program was illegal.
The agency plans to purge the metadata records after the resolution of several lawsuits challenging the program.
"The telephone metadata preserved solely because of preservation obligations in pending civil litigation will not be used or accessed for any other purpose," the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Monday in a statement. "As soon as possible, NSA will destroy the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata upon expiration of its litigation preservation obligations."
The NSA's collection of American cell phone records was halted on June 1, when Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act expired. The next day, Congress revised the provision with the USA Freedom Act, which allowed the government more limited surveillance powers. About the same time, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, ruled Section 215 of the Patriot Act was unlawful, but did not go as far as issuing an injunction to stop the program.
Amy R. Connolly contributed to this report.