The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in the statement the surveillance efforts run by the National Security Agency were actually limited in scope despite the huge volumes of data they reportedly scrutinized, and were tightly controlled by the officials in charge.
The Wall Street Journal said Sunday the statement also assured Congress that major IT companies handling the voice and Internet communications had "put energy, focus and commitment to consistently protect the privacy of their customers."
The Journal said the statement was sent out amid the flap over the NSA's monitoring of personal communications for indications of terrorist plots. The statement said agents reviewed the records of fewer than 300 Americans last year due to data "associated with specific foreign terrorist organizations."
The programs also yielded valuable results, the statement contended, including the foiling of a 2009 plot to bomb Penn Station and Grand Central Station in New York.
"This success was just one of many in which we've leverage the combined authorities of these programs, as well as others, to protect the American people," the statement said.