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US releases once-secret legal rulings in attempt to justify Bush-era surveillance programs

The director of national intelligence is declassifying more documents that show how the National Security Agency was first authorized to start collecting bulk phone and Internet records in the hunt for al-Qaida terrorists.

James Clapper explains in a statement Saturday that President George W. Bush first authorized the spying as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program, just after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Bush's presidential authorization eventually was replaced by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — a law that requires a secret court to OK the spying.

The disclosures are part of the White House's campaign to justify the NSA surveillance, after leaks to the media by former agency contractor Edward Snowden.

President Barack Obama said Friday he would consider some changes to NSA operations.