TODAY   |  June 20, 2013

FBI head defends NSA’s surveillance programs

Robert Mueller, head of the FBI, strongly defended the NSA’s phone and Internet surveillance programs, saying terrorists’ ability to communicate with each other is their weakest link. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> today, the senate armed service committee holds a closed hearinging on the national security agency in light of leaks from ed wafrd snowden and surveillance. lawmakers heard from the head of the fbi on wednesday about surveillance and drones. nbc's chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell is in washington. andrea, good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, natalie. robert muller strongly defended the nsa's phone and internet surveillance program, saying that terrorists' ability to communicate with each other is their weakest link.

>> concerns me is you never know which dot is going to be key. what you want is as many dots as you can. if you close down a program like this, you are removing dots from the playing field .

>> reporter: in answer to a question, muller also confirmed that the fbi does now use unarmed drones in what he called a minimal way inside the united states . the drones, some as small as model planes have been used by the drug enforcement and border patrol agencies. fbi hostage negotiators used surveillance drones during a standoff with an alabama man who had taken a boy hostage inside an underground bunker in february. the boy was successfully rescued. all this as officials have not found edward snow concerning the alleged laerk pardon they do find him, we are hear they may encounter considerable difficulti difficulties, legal delays getting him back to the united states . natalie?

>> andrea mitchell from our washington bureau, thank you.