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Newly-minted Attorney General Loretta Lynch defended a National Security Agency bulk data collection program at a Senate subcommittee hearing Thursday, calling Section 215 of the Patriot Act a “vital tool.” Lynch said the Department of Justice is also reviewing a federal appeals court’sThursday decision, which ruled the program is illegal. “Obviously, Section 215 has been a vital too in our national security arsenal,” Lynch said. “We are reviewing [the court] decision. But given the time issues involving the expiration of it, we are also, and have been, working with this body and other to look for ways to reauthorize Section 215 in a way that preserves its efficacy and protect privacy.” Lynch’s comments come as Congress considers proposals to reauthorize or revamp the program before its authorities expire on June 1.

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