The US Department of Justice has been maintaining a secret record of all phone calls in and out of United States even before the start of its National Surveillance Programs, according to a new report.
The database which was maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) contained call records exchanged between telephone numbers in the US and overseas. The calls were recorded even for those callers having no involvement in criminal activity.
According to the media reports, the information has been shared by the DEA with other law-enforcement agencies, including the FBI, Homeland Security, IRS and intelligence agencies.
The elements from the telephonic calls that were stored by the government included the phone numbers, the call duration and the time and date of the phone call made. However, the database did not store names or other personal information or facts or the content of the conversations that reveal the identity of the callers.
According to the government, it primarily collected calls exchanged between Americans and persons in other countries that had connections to criminal activities such as international drug trafficking or terror activities.
The database was disclosed in a court filing by the US government.
The filing stated, “Could be applied to query a telephone quantity exactly where federal law-enforcement officials had a affordable articulable suspicion that the telephone number at challenge was associated to an ongoing federal criminal investigation.”
In another filing, the Justice Division mentioned that the surveillance system was stopped by the DEA in September 2013, which will not be reinstated.