Today, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James R. Clapper declassified the fact that the government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to extend the National Security Agency’s telephony metadata collection program by ninety days. The FISC signed off on the request.
In March, President Obama had announced his intention to secure legislation that would reform the telephony metadata program, among other things by keeping the metadata in the possession of telephone companies. As such a bill has not yet passed (the Senate recently rejected legislation proposed by Senator Patrick Leahy), the government applied for a ninety-day extension of its current collection activities. On Thursday, the FISC approved such an extension---which will expire on February 27, 2015, and which will give the administration further time to advocate for changes to the statute that, in its view, authorizes it to collect telephony metadata in bulk. (That authority itself will sunset next May.)
The DNI is currently declassifying the FISC’s order and will release it shortly.