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DOJ moves to block Missouri telecom regulators seeking NSA spying information

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] filed a lawsuit Tuesday to prevent two members of the Missouri Public Service Commission [official website] from gathering information about whether Missouri consumers' telephone records were released to the National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] in connection with its domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in St. Louis [official website], alleges that disclosing the information to the state regulatory commission would cause "exceptionally grave harm to national security." In June, the two commission members subpoenaed AT&T Inc. [corporate website] requesting that it release any judicial or administrative records seeking the consumer information, which the commissioners said is protected by Missouri regulations [text]. After AT&T refused the request, citing federal security laws, the commissioners asked a judge to compel AT&T to comply [AP report].

The DOJ filed another lawsuit last month [JURIST report] seeking to block the New Jersey attorney general from seeking information about the NSA program. The New Jersey and Missouri investigations began after a May USA Today report that the NSA had been collecting phone records from major telephone companies [JURIST report] in an effort to detect terrorist activity. AT&T has neither confirmed nor denied participating, but USA Today has reported that intelligence officials confirmed to lawmakers that AT&T gave the NSA bulk call records [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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