White House says controls on data collection are strict

Reuters

The White House addressed controversy over its phone record surveillance on Thursday, saying that strict controls are in place to ensure that collection of data by intelligence agencies calls does not violate civil liberties.

"The intelligence community is conducting court-authorized intelligence activities pursuant to public statute with the knowledge and oversight of Congress," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters traveling with the president to North Carolina.

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An order relating to collection of massive amounts of phone records that was made public "does not allow the government to listen in on anyone's telephone calls," Earnest said.

Nor did the information required include the content of any communication or the name of any subscriber, he added.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; writing by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Sandra Maler)