We're learning this morning about yet another expansion of the government's ability to snoop on American citizens. A top-secret court order has given the Obama administration the authority to collect phone records of Verizon customers, according to Britain's Guardian newspaper. There are roughly 100 million Verizon customers in the U.S.


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Here's some background from FoxNews.com:

The Obama administration has been collecting the phone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top secret court order, according to a British newspaper report which raised new and troubling privacy questions. 

While the administration defended its authority to seize phone records -- and stressed that it does not monitor calls -- one civil liberties group called this the "broadest surveillance order to ever have been issued." 

"It requires no level of suspicion and applies to all Verizon subscribers anywhere in the U.S.," the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement. 

Speaking to Fox News, a senior administration official would not confirm the report in the Guardian newspaper -- but did not deny it either. The report follows revelations that the Justice Department was seizing the phone records of journalists, including at Fox News, in the course of leak probes. 

The order, a copy of which apparently was obtained by The Guardian , reportedly was granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on April 25 and is good until July 19. 

It requires Verizon, one of the nation's largest telecommunications companies, on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries. 

Fox and Friends discussed the new report at length this morning, including with Michelle Malkin, who believes this is very different from what President Bush was doing during his administration, when he was "very committed" to the war on terror. She noted that President Obama does not have the same commitment to fighting terrorists, yet they have gone after private phone records in a "massively more expansive way."

"Bush was concerned with overseas phone calls originating from America to remote places in Afghanistan. ... The question here with the Obama administration is if he has declared the war on terror over what the heck is he doing with this!?" she asked.

Gretchen Carlson agreed, asking, "if there's no war on terror, why does he need 90 million Verizon phone records?"

Malkin called this "two very different programs rooted in two very different agendas."


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Earlier in the discussion, Malkin discussed the latest report on the IRS scandal, which states that Cincinnati IRS agents were receiving direction from Washington, D.C. IRS lawyer Carter Hull.

Check out some reaction from across Twitter... Even Al Gore takes exception:

Todd Starnes:

Steve Doocy:


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