A letter from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper sheds new light on NSA spying on Americans.
The letter to Senator Ron Wyden was posted online by the Washington Post.
In it, Clapper admits the agency used a legal measure to perform warrantless searches of e-mail and other electronic communications.
It's the first public confirmation by intelligence officials that the NSA searched databases specifically for information on US citizens.
Wyden and fellow Democratic Senator Mark Udall, who both serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee, issued a joint statement on the revelation.
They say the NSA used a legal "loophole" for "intrusive surveillance practices."
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