WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder is seeking to strike a conciliatory tone on the subject of surveillance. He's defending the Obama administration's methods to Congress while also insisting that the government will safeguard the privacy rights of all Americans.

At the outset of a three-hour hearing Wednesday, Sen. Patrick Leahy said the government needs to set appropriate limits on when and how it can collect vast amounts of data on Americans.

The Vermont Democrat focused on the massive government collection of Americans' phone data, an initiative disclosed by former National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. Holder said the administration will gather a wide range of views about the controversial program before making any changes to it.

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