Government letter defends phone-tracking program

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Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - In a letter to a New York judge, the U.S. government has defended its use of a phone-tracking program that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans.
   
The letter sent Thursday by federal prosecutors in Manhattan said it was necessary to collect and store a large volume of information about unrelated communications to fight terrorism.
   
The letter was the first government response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Obama administration. The lawsuit asked a judge to find the program unconstitutional. President Barack Obama has defended the program and said privacy must be balanced with security. The lawsuit said the government's program exceeds the congressional authority provided by the Patriot Act.

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