WASHINGTON — The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court renewed the government's authority Friday to continue the collection of millions of Americans' telephone records, one of the classified counter-terrorism programs disclosed by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

In an unusual public statement, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged that the court renewed the authority that was set to expire Friday.

"In light of the significant and continuing public interest in the …collection program, the DNI has decided to declassify and disclose publicly that the government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking renewal of the authority to collect telephony metadata in bulk, and that the court renewed that authority,'' the statement said.