"DNI James R. Clapper declassified the fact that the government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to reauthorize the existing program until June 1, 2015, and that the FISC issued an order approving the government's application," the statement said.
US President Barack Obama announced earlier that the government should not hold the data in bulk, but instead, telephone companies would hold it with a legal mechanism to allow the government to obtain the data determined by the individual orders from the FISC. However, the president's proposal requires new legislation enacted by Congress.
"Congress has a limited window before the June 1 sunset to enact legislation that would implement the President's proposed path forward for the telephony metadata program, while preserving key intelligence authorities," the statement added, saying that the White House is ready to work with Congress on such legislation.
The telephone metadata collection program was first revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, who released secret files proving that US spy agencies like NSA collect telephone data on US citizens.
That revelation created widespread backlash at a practice that infringes on US citizens' privacy, prompting the administration to call for limits on the practice.