- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2014

Call it the law of unintended consequences: Lawsuits brought forth by National Security Agency spying revelations may actually prompt the agency to expand its controversial program — at least in the short term.

Officials told the Wall Street Journal that evidence that may be needed in court proceedings can not be discarded. Since it must be stored somewhere, millions of phone records of Americans will end up in a database that would otherwise be destroyed.

The Journal reported that officials haven’t made a final decision to preserve the data, though one official said it would only be retained for litigation and wouldn’t be subject to searches.

Cindy Cohn, legal director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is suing the federal government over NSA phone spying programs, told the Journal that getting rid of older records is not an option.

“If they’re destroying evidence, that would be a crime,” she said. Ms. Cohen believes the government should save the phone records, as long as officials can not search through them.

Due to the number of lawsuits, it will likely to take years before the data in the government’s possession can be destroyed.

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