June 6 - The Obama administration defends its collection of the telephone records of millions of Americans as part of U.S. counter-terrorism efforts, re-igniting a fierce debate over privacy. Deborah Gembara reports.
New questions for the White House about why it ordered a major cell provider to hand over its customers' phone records. The news continues to raise concerns over the balance of privacy and national security in a post-September 11th United States. Millions of Verizon customer records were released to government under a top secret court order. Administration officials have quietly acknowledged and defended the necessity of the program but on Capitol Hill, Attorney General Eric Holder was less forthcoming. SOUNDBITE: Mark Kirk, U.S. Senator from Illinois saying: "Could you assure to us that no phones inside the capitol were monitored...members of Congress?" SOUNDBITE: Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General saying: "With all due respect Senator, I don't think this is an appropriate setting for me to discuss that issue, I'd be more than glad to come back in an appropriate setting to discuss the issues that you have raised, but in this open forum, I don't' want to do that." Court documents offer no details about why the order was given. What is known is that the three-month court order was issued a week after the Boston Marathon bombing and requires records for both domestic and international calls.