From the Oxford English Dictionary:
“Civil liberties lawyers trying to hold the administration to account through the courts for its surveillance of phone calls and emails of American citizens have been repeatedly stymied by the government’s recourse to the “military and state secrets privilege”. The precedent, rarely used but devastating in its legal impact, allows the government to claim that it cannot be submitted to judicial oversight because to do so it would have to compromise national security.”
“The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.
“The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.”
“The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
“The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
“The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.”