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FCC declines investigation of NSA phone records controversy

[JURIST] US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) [official website] Chairman Kevin Martin [official profile] has written [press release] a letter [PDF] to US Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) [official website] saying that the watchdog agency will not investigate the collection of millions of phone records [JURIST report] by the National Security Agency (NSA) [official website]. In the letter, dated Monday, Martin contends that the FCC cannot perform an effective investigation because it does not have access to classified government documents. Martin's comments responded to a letter [PDF] from Markey urging the agency to launch a probe into the alleged program. Last week, one of the four other FCC commissioners, Michael J. Copps [official profile], said the FCC should investigate [JURIST report].

Since the controversial report that several prominent US phone companies turned over domestic customers' call records, Verizon and BellSouth have denied involvement [JURIST report] in the program, although AT&T has neither confirmed nor denied its participation. Earlier this year, the US Justice Department dropped its probe [JURIST report] into the role its own lawyers played in the NSA domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive] because the agency would not give the DOJ security clearances. Reuters has more.

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