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Iran Press TV

US takes first step in criminal investigation into NSA leaks

Iran Press TV

Sun Jun 9, 2013 1:48PM GMT

The US has taken its first step towards launching a criminal investigation into the leaking of classified documents which shed light on the government's tracking of American phone records and internet accounts.

According to a government source, director of US National Intelligence James Clapper has filed a "criminal report" with the US Department of Justice and the FBI.

The move begins the investigation process into the leaking of documents related to the federal government's tracking of phone calls and internet accounts of millions of American people.

'The Department reviews any referrals it receives from the intelligence community consistent with established procedures for determining whether investigation is warranted,' the Justice Department source said on Saturday.

On June 6, The Guardian revealed a top secret US court order that allows the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect data on millions of Americans who are customers of the major US phone company, Verizon.

According to the order, Verizon should "on a daily basis" give the NSA data, including phone numbers, location, and duration of all phone calls in its systems, both in the US and between the US and other countries.

On the same day, the Washington Post also reported that the NSA had direct access to Internet servers, saying their source, a career intelligence officer, was horrified of the capabilities of the systems used by the top US spy agency.

Clapper defended the electronic surveillance tool PRISM, arguing that various intelligence-gathering programs being used by the governmment are legal.

Earlier on Saturday, White House spokesman Ben Rhodes said that US President Barack Obama reviewed the situation to determine the level of possible damage that may have been done by the leaking.

'We're still in early stages,' the White House official added.

The Obama administration is already under fire for secretly obtaining the phone records of the Associated Press journalists as well as the emails and phone records of a Fox News Channel reporter.


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