SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge in San Francisco stopped the destruction Monday of millions of telephone records collected by the National Security Agency more than five years ago.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White, who is overseeing an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against the agency, issued a nationwide order Monday to safeguard evidence until March 19, when he will hold a hearing on extending the deadline further.
The secret federal court that approved the agency's surveillance has required that documents be purged after five years for privacy reasons. On Friday, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court denied the federal government's request to keep the records for the sake of pending lawsuits.
The NSA, which has acknowledged obtaining phone numbers and other information on all U.S. calls, was prepared on Tuesday to destroy all records collected more than five years ago, according to court documents.
White said he was enforcing an order he had issued in an earlier NSA surveillance case that halted evidence from being destroyed.
He wrote that "the Court would be unable to afford effective relief once the records are destroyed" and before he decided if their collection was legal. The plaintiffs in the lawsuits include civil rights, environmental and religious groups as well as gun organizations and marijuana advocates.
The NSA started collecting domestic phone call records in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Since 2006, the agency has obtained warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
The White House referred questions on the NSA records to the Justice Department, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Aviation experts say the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared over the weekend will be found -- eventually.
It took two years to find the main wreckage of an Air France jet that plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. And in 2007, closer to the area where the Malaysian jet disappeared, it took a week for wreckage from an Indonesian jet to be spotted.
Making this search harder is the possibility that the Malaysian jet made a U-turn before it disappeared. Officials involved in the search say the plane could be hundreds of miles from where it was last detected.
One expert says the plane must have been intact for some time after disappearing from radar. John Cox, a former US Airways pilot who heads Safety Operating Systems, says if it had exploded along its flight path, the debris would have been found by now.
Malaysian officials say more than 1,000 people, with at least 34 planes and 40 ships, are searching a radius of 100 nautical miles around the plane's last known location.
BOSTON (AP) - An MBTA Green Line train has derailed in Boston, sending 10 people to hospitals with minor injuries.
A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority said the outbound train went off the track underground and struck a wall shortly after 12:20 p.m. Monday. The cause of the crash is being investigated. It occurred at the intersection of two branches of the Green Line just west of Kenmore Station, which is near Fenway Park.
Boston emergency crews reported at least seven people, including the train's driver, complained of back pain. All passengers walked off the train unassisted. Some of the injured were on a following train that braked to avoid the crash.
Service on parts of the affected branches wasn't expected to resume Monday. Shuttle buses were running to accommodate commuters.