BellSouth calls for retraction on USA Today report

The fall-out continues over a USA Today story that claimed three of the nation's largest phone companies supplied customer phone records to the National Security Agency.

BellSouth on Thursday faxed a letter to the newspaper's publisher and top lawyer demanding a retraction of "false and unsubstantiated statements" about its practices in the story, according to a CNN report.

USA Today is reviewing the letter and plans to respond, a company representative said in an e-mail message to CNET

The letter was the latest step in BellSouth's attempts to free itself from allegations that it had illegally handed over call logs to the feds. Shortly after the USA Today story ran, both BellSouth and Verizon issued statements denying their involvement with the controversial NSA surveillance program.

The position voiced by BellSouth in recent days echoes the stance it took when surveyed by CNET at the end of January. BellSouth was one of 15 large telecommunications and Internet service firms that was able to give a firm "no" in response to the question, "Have you turned over information or opened up your networks to the NSA without being compelled by law?"

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