FBI director defends surveillance programs

WASHINGTON (AP) — FBI Director Robert Mueller is defending the government’s collection of millions of U.S. phone records, emails and other information that people transmit online as vital to the nation’s national security.

In his last appearance as FBI director before the House Judiciary Committee, Mueller (MUHL’-ur) said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has approved the surveillance programs and they have been conducted in compliance with U.S. law and with oversight from Congress.

The revelation that the National Security Agency is collecting millions of U.S. phone records along with digital communications stored by nine major Internet companies has touched off a national debate over whether the Obama administration, in its efforts to thwart terrorism, has overstepped proper bounds by using intrusive surveillance methods.

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