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MOSCOW (AP) - President Vladimir Putin says the National Security Agency surveillance program is necessary to fight terrorism, but must be regulated by strict rules and norms.

Putin said Thursday at a press conference that NSA surveillance "isn't cause for joy, but not a cause for repentance either."

He says that such mass surveillance is necessary to fight terrorism to be able to expose terrorists' contacts.

Putin adds that such a huge amount of data limits the damage to privacy as security agencies are simply not able to process them all.

At the same time, he insists monitoring should be regulated by clear rules.

Details of the program have been leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

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