BellSouth denies phone records were handed over to the NSA

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

BellSouth, said in a statement yesterday that the telecommunications company did not hand over customer call records to the National Security Agency or NSA. On May 11, 2006, USA Today reported that the NSA collected millions of call logs from telecommunications companies in 2001 under a contract the NSA claims to have had with the company.

BellSouth said that they conducted a "internal review" and that the review "confirmed no such contract exists and we have not provided bulk customer calling records to the NSA," said Jeff Battcher, spokesman for BellSouth.

"We do not believe that any final review will turn up anything different from what we have currently found. There is no link between the NSA and BellSouth that we can find in what we feel is a very exhaustive review. We wouldn't have made this bold statement if we weren't confident about this," added Battcher.

AT&T and Verizon Communications were also said to have handed over customer call logs, but Verizon said on Friday that they don't "and will not, provide any government agency unfettered access to our customer records or provide information to the government under circumstances that would allow a fishing expedition."

On Monday, Massachusetts Representative Edward Markey of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on telecommunications asked for help from the Federal Communications Commission or FCC, to investigate whether Verizon, AT&T, and BellSouth violated privacy rights under communication laws and regulations.

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