Current, former officials back secret surveillance

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Associated Press

Posted on June 17, 2013 at 3:33 AM

Updated Monday, Jun 17 at 5:33 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top officials from the Obama and Bush administrations say the government's newly exposed secret surveillance programs have been essential to disrupting terrorist plots and have not infringed on Americans' civil liberties.

The current and former officials are justifying the massive trawling for phone and Internet data as new revelations add to public disclosures about the classified operations.

President Barack Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough, says the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government are using aggressive internal checks to oversee how the programs are conducted.

McDonough and others who appeared on the Sunday talk shows, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, are backing the government's reliance on data collection from Americans and foreign nationals.

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