The National Security Agency is considering ending a once-secret surveillance program that annually collects hundreds of millions of telephone call records, including those belonging to Americans, because it lacks operational value, according to people familiar with the matter.

Terminating the program, which was exposed publicly by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden nearly six years ago, would represent a stunning concession from a spy agency that once argued the collection of call metadata was vital to national security.

Luke Murray, a national-security adviser for Republican congressional leadership, said in a recent podcast interview with the Lawfare security blog that the NSA hadn’t used the program in the past six months and might not seek its renewal when portions of the Patriot Act that authorize it expire at the end of the year.

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