Ken Dilanian of AP reports:
The Obama administration has decided that the National Security Agency will soon stop examining — and will ultimately destroy — millions of American calling records it collected under a controversial program leaked by former agency contractor Edward Snowden.
On Monday, the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement those records would no longer be examined in terrorism investigations after Nov. 29, and would be destroyed as soon as possible.
The records can’t be purged at the moment because the NSA is being sued over them, the statement said.
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The text of ODNI’s statement:
On June 29, 2015, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved the Government’s application to resume the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata program pursuant to the USA FREEDOM Act’s 180-day transition provision. As part of our effort to transition to the new authority, we have evaluated whether NSA should maintain access to the historical metadata after the conclusion of that 180-day period.
NSA has determined that analytic access to that historical metadata collected under Section 215 (any data collected before November 29, 2015) will cease on November 29, 2015. However, solely for data integrity purposes to verify the records produced under the new targeted production authorized by the USA FREEDOM Act, NSA will allow technical personnel to continue to have access to the historical metadata for an additional three months.
Separately, NSA remains under a continuing legal obligation to preserve its bulk 215 telephony metadata collection until civil litigation regarding the program is resolved, or the relevant courts relieve NSA of such obligations. The telephony metadata preserved solely because of preservation obligations in pending civil litigation will not be used or accessed for any other purpose, and, as soon as possible, NSA will destroy the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata upon expiration of its litigation preservation obligations.