National Security Agency personnel regularly searched call tracking data using thousands of numbers that had not been vetted in accordance with court-ordered procedures, according to previously secret legal filings and court opinions released by the Obama administration Tuesday.

The agency also falsely certified to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that analysts and technicians were complying with the court’s insistence that searches only be done with numbers that had a “reasonable, articulable suspicion” of terrorism, according to a senior intelligence official who briefed reporters prior to release of the documents.

The unauthorized searches went on for about three years until they were discovered in March 2009.