U.S. intelligence agencies brief senators on phone records


Representatives of U.S. intelligence agencies involved in a government program to gather Americans' telephone records came to Capitol Hill on Thursday to brief senators on the program.

Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Thursday: "All the major intelligence organizations that are involved in this process were present."

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He spoke to reporters after leaving a closed-door briefing for the panel.

Asked if he thought there was abuse, Rubio said, "There are always ways to improve any program."

The regularly scheduled meeting of the intelligence committee was opened to all 100 senators after the news of the program was first reported by the Guardian newspaper.

The Guardian on Wednesday published a secret court order related to the collection of records of millions of customers of Verizon Communications.

Rubio said the Guardian report was not completely accurate, but said it is difficult to balance privacy and security issues.

"Programs like this have great utility and on the other hand, the American people want to feel confident that their government isn't watching them," the Florida senator said.

(Reporting By Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Sandra Maler)