Judge's order preserves NSA surveillance records

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A federal judge in San Francisco has stopped the destruction of millions of telephone records collected by the National Security Agency.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White issued a nationwide order Monday to safeguard evidence for invasion-of-privacy lawsuits until March 19.

The secret federal court that approved the NSA's surveillance requires 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.

According to court documents, the NSA was set to destroy the records Tuesday.

White, who's overseeing one of the lawsuits, said "the Court would be unable to afford effective relief once the records are destroyed" and before he decided if their collection was legal.

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