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Justice Dept. Wants NSA Phone Records Kept Longer

AP Photo / Nicolas Armer

The American Civil Liberties Union, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles are among those suing to have the phone records program declared unconstitutional.

"This is just a distraction," ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said in a written statement. "We don't have any objection to the government deleting these records. While they're at it, they should delete the whole database."

The request was made in a filing with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The court has not ruled on the request, which was made public Wednesday. The government does not specify how long it thinks the records should be stored, but it says any order should allow the government to maintain the data "until relieved of its preservation obligations, or until further order of this court."

The Justice Department said intelligence analysts would not have access to data retained beyond the five-year period and that the data would be kept solely for "purposes of meeting its obligation to preserve potentially relevant evidence in the ongoing civil cases."

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