U.S. Senator Ron Wyden has expressed “serious concerns about the legality” of a secretive phone surveillance program funded by the White House to track trillions of domestic phone records every year across the United States.
According to a letter sent by Wyden to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Nov. 26, the DAS (Data Analytical Services) program has been collecting information from countless phone calls nationwide.
The mass surveillance program, formerly called Hemisphere, allows officials to simply ask for phone records of not only criminal suspects, but of their spouses, children, parents, and friends.
In the letter, obtained by tech news site Wired, Wyden warned that “troubling information” he had received “would justifiably outrage many Americans and other members of Congress.”
“While I have long defended the government’s need to protect classified sources and methods, this surveillance program is not classified and its existence has already been acknowledged by the DOJ in federal court.”
Hemisphere was first exposed in a New York Times report in 2013. At the time, it was understood that the program was used solely for drug-related investigations.
Four billion new records are being added to its database every day, according to Wired.
Wyden’s letter also indicates the program is being used by law enforcement agencies across the country—from local police and sheriff’s departments, all the way up to federal agencies—for any of their investigations. (PressTV.ir)