A secret court played a major role in the NSA’s ability to gather phone data on millions of Americans, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decided in the mid-2000s to broaden the definition of “relevant,” which allowed the collection of millions of people’s phone records.
The information includes the phone numbers and locations of all domestic calls, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Some attorneys are unsettled by the decision.
“I think it’s a stretch” of previous federal legal interpretations, says Mark Eckenwiler, a senior counsel at Perkins Coie LLP who, until December, was the Justice Department’s primary authority on federal criminal surveillance law. If a federal attorney “served a grand-jury subpoena for such a broad class of records in a criminal investigation, he or she would be laughed out of court.”