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Intelligence Director declassifies law to explain massive phone, Internet surveillance

by on June 8, 2013

gazzetta

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s administration on Thursday defended a newly disclosed National Security Agency program that gathers telephone records of tens of millions of Verizon customers, authorized under a secret court order.

In an unusual move, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, responded to a newspaper report about the program by declassifying certain aspects of the law to explain to the public the limitations of the program. He said it could only be used if there is “a reasonable suspicion” of a connection with a foreign terrorist organization.

“The highest priority of the intelligence community is to work within the constraints of law to collect, analyze and understand information related to potential threats to our national security,” he said in a statement late Thursday.

On Capitol Hill, key lawmakers from both parties said they have known about the program for years, while others said they were never informed of…

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