WASHINGTON, July 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has apologized for "clearly erroneous" statement he made to Congress over the National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance activity, according to a letter released by his office on Tuesday.
In the letter dated June 21 and addressed to Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein, Clapper said he was mistaken when he told Senator Ron Wyden during a March 12 Senate hearing that the United States did not collect data on millions of Americans.
"My response was clearly erroneous -- for which I apologize," Clapper wrote in the letter. He said his staff acknowledged the error to Wyden's office soon after the hearing, but he would like to "openly correct it because the existence of the metadata collection program has been declassified."
Clapper's statements at the hearing have been criticized since NSA's telephone and internet surveillance programs were exposed last month.