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Nation

Critics Slam NSA Over Phone-Record Collecting Leaked document shows Verizon data handed over to feds Washington A leaked document lays bare the monumental scope of the government’s surveillance of Americans’ phone records — hundreds of millions of calls — in the first hard evidence of a massive data-collection program aimed at combating terrorism under powers granted by Congress after the 9/11 attacks. Civil liberties advocates and some critics in Congress declared that the sweeping nature of the National Security Agency program, disclosed Thursday, represented an unwarranted intrusion into Americans’ private lives. But some Democrats, as well as Republicans who normally jump at the chance to criticize the Obama administration, lauded the program’s effectiveness. One outraged senator was Ron Wyden, D-Ore. He said, “When lawabiding Americans make phone calls, who they call, when they call and where they call is private information. As a result of the discussion that came to light today, now we’re going to have a real debate.”

Meanwhile … The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, emails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time. The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy. For more, visit washingtonpost.com.

But Republican Lindsay Graham of South Carolina said Americans have no cause for concern. “If you’re not getting a call from a terrorist organization, you’ve got nothing to worry about,” he said. At issue is a court order, first disclosed by The Guardian newspaper in Britain, that requires Verizon to turn over, on an “ongoing, daily basis,” records of all landline and mobile telephone calls of its customers, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries. Intelligence experts said it was likely similar orders were in place for other phone companies. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the order was a three-month renewal of an ongoing

practice that is supervised by federal judges. The surveillance powers are granted under the post-9/11 Patriot Act, which was renewed in 2006 and again in 2011. Without confirming the authenticity of the court order, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said such surveillance powers are “a critical tool in protecting the nation from terror threats.” The NSA had no immediate comment. The agency is sensitive to perceptions that it might be spying on Americans. It distributes a brochure that pledges that the agency “is unwavering in its respect for U.S. laws and Americans’ civil liberties — and its commitment to accountability.” DONNA CASSATA AND MAT T APUZZO (AP)

In Brief HARRISBURG, PA.

LOS ANGELES

Lawsuit by Pa. Governor Against NCAA Tossed

Swimmer, Actress Esther Williams Dies

A federal judge on Thursday threw out Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s lawsuit against the NCAA over sanctions against Penn State related to Jerry Sandusky, calling his argument “a Hail Mary pass” that easily warranted dismissal. Corbett sought to overturn a $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban, scholarship limits and other penalties. (AP)

Esther Williams, the swimming champion turned actress who starred in glittering and aquatic Technicolor musicals of Williams the 1940s and 1950s, died Thursday at 91 in her sleep, her longtime publicist said. (AP)

WASHINGTON

PHILADELPHIA

Senate Rejects Dueling Student-Loan Proposals

Girl Gets on Lung-Donor List; Boy’s Family Sues

Interest rates on new student loans are set to head higher after senators on Thursday failed to advance proposals to keep them from doubling come July 1. Dueling measures in the Senate would have kept interest rates on some student loans from moving from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, although the Republican and Democratic proposals failed to win 60 votes needed on procedural votes. (AP)

The national organ transplant network complied Wednesday night with a judge’s unusual order and placed a dying 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan on the adult waiting list for a donated lung, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday. Meanwhile, the mother of an 11-year-old Bronx boy at the same hospital filed a lawsuit, asking a judge to add him to the list. (AP)

Senate Placeholder State Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa will temporarily fill the U.S. Senate seat that opened up this week after Frank Lautenberg’s death, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday, naming his longtime colleague to the post. Chiesa, 47, has never held or run for political office and will not seek the office in an October special election to fill the seat for a longer period, Christie said. (AP)

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