The Obama administration on Thursday defended the National Security Agency’s use of a secret court order to collect telephone records from millions of Verizon customers.

The NSA has been collecting Verizon’s records on millions of calls since April 25. A court order banned Verizon from discussing the matter.

The information provided to the NSA did not include the content of conversations or customers’ identities but covered telephone numbers used and the length of calls.

The seizing of phone records by the NSA was first disclosed in 2006 during the Bush adminsitration, and this is the first time it has been revealed that the practice was continued — and perhaps expanded — under President Obama.

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