U.S. lawmakers have ordered an investigation into allegations the National Security Agency violated legal restrictions while intercepting some e-mails and phone calls of Americans.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, head of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, called the charges "serious" Thursday and said congressional hearings on the matter will be held within a month.
The New York Times first reported the allegations, quoting intelligence officials and lawyers who said the NSA overcollected information.
The U.S. Justice Department issued a statement Thursday saying it has taken steps to correct the situation and bring the NSA program into compliance. The department says it works diligently to ensure that surveillance complies with the nation's laws.
Details of the violations were not released due to the classified nature of the NSA's work.
The Bush administration authorized the government to eavesdrop on international phone calls and e-mails to and from the U.S., without obtaining a warrant from a secret security court, shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.