As a result of the myriad of pending lawsuits challenging the legality of the National Security Agency’s bulk metadata collection program, the United States government now wants to keep its records beyond the existing five-year limit.
As the government argued Tuesday in its 14-page court filing (PDF) in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court:
Based upon the issues raised by Plaintiffs in the above-referenced lawsuits and the Government’s potential defenses to those claims, the United States must ensure that all potentially relevant evidence is retained which includes the [business records] metadata obtained in bulk from certain telecommunications service providers pursuant to this Court’s production orders. To meet this obligation, the Government seeks an order that would allow the NSA to retain the [business records] metadata for non-analytic purposes until relieved of its preservation obligations or until further order of this Court under the conditions described below. Based upon the claims raised and the relief sought, a more limited retention of the [business records] metadata is not possible as there is no way for the Government to know in advance and then segregate and retain only that [business records] metadata specifically relevant to the identified lawsuits.
Among the cases that the United States Department of Justice referred to were ACLU v. Clapper, Klayman v. Obama, Smith v. Obama, First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA, Paul v. Obama, and Perez v. Clapper.