WASHINGTON – The largest U.S. long-distance carriers cooperated with the National Security Agency's wiretapping of international calls without warrants, according to a published report Monday that cited unnamed telecommunications executives and intelligence officials.
MCI, Sprint and AT&T grant access to their systems without warrants or court orders, and provide call-routing information that helps physically locate the callers, USA Today reported.
Representatives at Verizon Communications Inc., which last year acquired MCI, and Sprint Nextel Corp. had no comment Monday on the newspaper's report.
A call to AT&T Inc. was not immediately returned.
The New York Times, which first wrote about the warrant-less wiretapping in December, has said carriers were cooperating but has not named them.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing Monday into the legality of the eavesdropping program, which according to previous reports involved calls to thousands of people. Democrats say they are skeptical of President Bush's claim that he can legally authorize wiretapping without warrants to fight terrorism.
Last week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued AT&T, calling the wiretapping an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. The company did not comment on the suit.