AT&T, Verizon Communications’ MCI and Sprint Nextel Corp. are among several large US telecommunications companies that agreed to cooperate with the National Security Agency’s spying without warrants on international calls by suspected terrorists, USA Today reported Monday.
The newspaper said it based its account on seven telecommunications executives who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the program. AT&T, MCI and Sprint had no official comment, the newspaper reported.
The Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings Monday on the government’s program of monitoring international calls and e-mails of a domestic target without first obtaining court orders.
The New York Times, which disclosed the clandestine operation in December, previously reported that telecommunications companies have been cooperating with the government, but it didn’t name the companies involved.
The USA Today report explained that NSA technicians work with phone company officials to intercept communications pegged to a particular person or phone number. Telecommunications executives say MCI, AT&T and Sprint grant the access to their systems on the basis of oral requests from senior government officials, rather than court orders or warrants.