From Foxnews.com

Reports that the Obama administration has been collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon customers in the U.S. could contradict statements made by top officials who previously claimed the government was not holding data on Americans.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was asked at a March hearing whether the National Security Agency collects any data on millions of Americans.

"No sir ... not wittingly," Clapper responded, acknowledging there are cases "where inadvertently, perhaps" the data could be collected.

NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander also told Fox News last year that the agency does not "hold data on U.S. citizens."

But the Guardian newspaper reported late Wednesdaythat the administration has been collecting the phone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top secret court order.

The order, a copy of which apparently was obtained by The Guardian, reportedly was granted by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on April 25 and is good until July 19.

It requires Verizon, one of the nation's largest telecommunications companies, on an "ongoing, daily basis" to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries.

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