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This undated U.S. government photo shows an aerial view of the National Security Agency (NSA) in Fort Meade, Md. The Obama administration on Thursday defended the National Security Agency's need to collect telephone records of U.S. citizens, calling such information "a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats."

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NSA collection of phone records revealed

Government gathers call data from Verizon WASHINGTON — The government has been secretly collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top secret court order, according to the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Obama administration defended the National Security Agency’s need to collect telephone records of U.S. citizens, but critics said it was a huge over-reach.

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