Intelligence chief warns against reining in agency

WASHINGTON (AP) — The director of the National Intelligence says an effort in the House to rein in the National Security Agency’s electronic surveillance program would dismantle a critical tool in the U.S. fight against terrorism.

James Clapper issued the statement just hours ahead of a House vote on an amendment by Republican Rep. Justin Amash that would end the statutory authority under the USA Patriot Act for the NSA to collect hundreds of millions of phone records.

Clapper said he was joining the leaders of the congressional intelligence panels in cautioning against acting in haste. He said he welcomes an open and candid discussion about the NSA programs.

The White House and Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the NSA, have also appealed to lawmakers to oppose the amendment.

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