May 14, 2006 7:05 a.m. EST
Richard Rittierodt – All Headline News Contributor
Trenton, NJ (AHN) – Claiming that Verizon Communications Incorporated violated privacy laws by turning over phone records to the National Security Agency for a secretive government surveillance program, two public interest lawyers sued the phone carrier for $5 Billion on Friday.
Attorneys Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer filed the lawsuit in federal district court in Manhattan, where Verizon is located.
Afran said of the NSA program, “This is the largest and most vast intrusion of civil liberties we’ve ever seen in the United States.”
According to USA Today, the NSA has been building a database of millions of Americans’ everyday telephone calls since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Verizon, along with AT&T Corp. and BellSouth Corp., complied.
The lawsuit claims that Verizon violated the Telecommunications Act and the Constitution by turning over the records to the government.
Verizon stated that it would not confirm or deny whether their company participated because the NSA program is highly classified.
The company said, “Verizon does not, and will not, provide any government agency unfettered access to our customer records or provide information to the government under circumstances that would allow a fishing expedition.”