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NEW YORK -- Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) today issued the following statement:
The President has referred to an NSA program, which he authorized, directed against al-Qaeda. Because that program is highly classified, Verizon cannot comment on that program, nor can we confirm or deny whether we have had any relationship to it.
Having said that, there have been factual errors in press coverage about the way Verizon handles customer information in general. Verizon puts the interests of our customers first and has a longstanding commitment to vigorously safeguard our customers' privacy -- a commitment we've highlighted in our privacy principles, which are available at www.verizon.com/privacy.
Verizon will provide customer information to a government agency only where authorized by law for appropriately-defined and focused purposes. When information is provided, Verizon seeks to ensure it is properly used for that purpose and is subject to appropriate safeguards against improper use. Verizon does not, and will not, provide any government agency unfettered access to our customer records or provide information to the government under circumstances that would allow a fishing expedition.
In January 2006, Verizon acquired MCI, and we are ensuring that Verizon's policies are implemented at that entity and that all its activities fully comply with law.
Verizon hopes that the Administration and the Congress can come together and agree on a process in an appropriate setting, and with safeguards for protecting classified information, to examine any issues that have been raised about the program. Verizon is fully prepared to participate in such a process.