House Intel leaders defend surveillance programs

Associated Press
FILE - In this June 12, 2013 file photo, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, commander, U.S. Cyber Command and director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.  Alexander will testify during a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday, June 18th.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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FILE - In this June 12, 2013 file photo, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, commander, U.S. Cyber Command and director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Alexander will testify during a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee Tuesday, June 18th. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The leaders of the House Intelligence Committee are vigorously defending the government's sweeping electronic surveillance programs.

Republican Rep. Mike Rogers and Democratic Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger said Tuesday that the programs were legal as well as critical in thwarting terrorism.

They criticized the recent leaks about the programs, with Rogers calling it criminal behavior.

The two spoke at the start of a rare open Capitol Hill hearing with the director of the National Security Agency, Gen. Keith Alexander.

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