President Barack Obama does not believe the recently disclosed top-secret National Security Agency surveillance of phone records and Internet data has violated Americans' privacy rights, his chief of staff said on Sunday.

Denis McDonough, appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation" program, also said he did not know the whereabouts of Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who said he was the source of reports in Britain's Guardian newspaper and The Washington Post about the agency's monitoring of phone and Internet data at big companies such as Verizon Communications Inc, Google Inc and Facebook Inc.

The administration has said the top-secret collection of massive amounts of "metadata" from phone calls - raw information that does not identify individual telephone subscribers, was legal and authorized by Congress in the interests of thwarting militant attacks. It has said the agencies did not monitor calls.