Justice Department Kept Secret Telephone Database - Law Blog - WSJ - Liar Liar!
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Justice Department Kept Secret Telephone Database - Law Blog - WSJ

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department secretly kept a database of U.S. calls to and from foreign countries for more than a decade, according to a new court filing and officials familiar with the program.

The revelation of another secret government database storing records of Americans’ calls came in a filing Thursday in the case of a man accused of conspiring to unlawfully export electronic goods to Iran.

A Drug Enforcement Administration official said in the three-page filing that the agency has long used administrative subpoenas—not federal court orders—to collect the metadata of U.S. calls to and from foreign countries “that were determined to have a demonstrated nexus to international drug trafficking and related criminal activities.’’

The document doesn’t identify the countries or say how many countries were involved.

The program began in the 1990s, according to people familiar with its operation, and was shut down in August of 2013, amid reports about the DEA gathering phone records in other ways.

A Justice Department official said the database was deleted and hasn’t been searched since 2013, and said the DEA is no longer collecting bulk telephone records from U.S. phone companies.

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