WASHINGTON A newspaper is reporting that the Obama administration quietly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 for the National Security Agency to search for Americans' communications in its huge databases of intercepted phone calls and emails.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that officials got the court to lift the ban on those kinds of searches, which the court imposed in 2008 at the government's request. The court also extended the length of time the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted communications from five to six years.
The Post reported the search authority has been used, noting that the permission to search and keep data longer expanded the NSA's authority in significant ways without public debate or any specific authority from Congress.
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