Justice Dept wants to keep phone records longer

Justice Dept wants to keep phone records longer

Credit: Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 17: Activists protest the surveillance of U.S. citizens by the NSA outside the Justice Department where U.S. President Barack Obama gave a major speech on reforming the NSA January 17, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama was expected to announce reforms including a requirement by intelligence agencies to obtain permission from a secret court before utilizing access to telephonic data gathered on U.S. citizens. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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wwltv.com

Posted on February 26, 2014 at 3:21 PM

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department is seeking to preserve the bulk collection of telephone records beyond five years because it's being sued and has an obligation to retain evidence.

The department says that destroying the records could be inconsistent with the government's legal obligations in the lawsuits.

Lawyers for the government made the request in a filing with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that was made public Wednesday.

Critics of the National Security Agency's phone records program have sued the government challenging the legality of the collection program.

A Justice Department spokesman says the records would be retained solely for use in ongoing civil cases and could not be used by intelligence analysts.

The American Civil Liberties Union is among those suing to have the phone records program declared unconstitutional.

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