Three major U.S. telephone companies are providing the National Security Agency with records of every phone call made, USA Today reported Thursday.
Sources who asked not to be identified told the newspaper AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth are contributing to a massive database of the calls, which will be used to analyze calling patterns to detect terrorist activity.
The three telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA, which launched the program in 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, sources said.
Customers' names, street addresses and other personal information are not being handed over as part of NSA's domestic program, the sources said. But the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information.
Among the telecommunications companies, sources said only Qwest has refused to help the NSA because it was uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants.