Secret Court's Ruling on Phone Data Collection Revealed

The top U.S. spy revealed on Friday that national intelligence agencies had sought and been granted permission to vacuum up Americans' calling data for three more months. In a statement released quietly on Friday the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Director James Clapper had decided to declassify and disclose that the government made the request to the hush-hush Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approved it earlier in the day. The statement said that Clapper was officially disclosing the FISA process "in order to provide the public a more thorough and balanced understanding of the program," which has polarized Americans over how deeply the U.S. government should dig into their privacy to keep them safe. Friday's statement also represented a sharp reversal from March, when Clapper flatly denied in testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the NSA was doing any such thing. While Clapper disclosed that the FISA court had issued the approval, the court's ruling itself wasn't made public.

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