By Ken Dilanian, Washington Bureau
June 8, 2013, 9:48 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The nation’s top intelligence official formally acknowledged the Internet surveillance program code-named PRISM on Saturday, saying it had obtained foreign intelligence information from U.S. Internet companies under laws passed by Congress and with oversight from a secret intelligence court.

The four-page statement by James Clapper, director of national intelligence, came after several days of what he described as “reckless disclosures” to the media about classified National Security Agency operations that vacuum up and archive domestic telephone records and can access Internet material.

“Disclosing information about the specific methods the government uses to collect communications can obviously give our enemies a ‘playbook’ of how to avoid detection,” Clapper said.

Clapper said he authorized the release of details “to dispel some of the myths and add necessary context to what has been published.”

“PRISM is not an undisclosed collection or data-mining program,” Clapper said. “It is an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision.”

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