The National Security Agency is collecting the telephone records of Verizon customers in the U.S., NPR has confirmed.
The news was first reported by the The Guardian newspaper.
The order, granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to the FBI on April 25, gives the government the power to obtain the information for a three-month period that ends July 19. The order covers all Verizon calls made within the U.S., and between the U.S. and other countries.
The order does not cover the content of actual conversations, but it does cover other details of the calls, such as phone numbers, location, duration, time and unique identifiers, according to the Guardian.
"The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of U.S. citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk — regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing," the Guardian says.
The National Security Agency, the White House and the Department of Justice all declined to comment on the story to the Guardian, as did Verizon.
This isn't the first time the NSA has been accused of eavesdropping inside the country. As NPR's Larry Abramson reported in 2006, after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, "the Bush administration directed the agency to include phone calls that started or ended in the United States, if one person was believed to be linked to al-Qaida."