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U.S. spy court to have new presiding judge

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The secretive U.S. court that considers applications for electronic surveillance and physical searches of non-U.S. targets will have a new presiding judge in May, the court said on Tuesday.

Judge Thomas Hogan, who has been a federal judge in Washington, D.C., since 1982, will begin work as the presiding judge of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on May 19, the court said in a statement.

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, who has exclusive authority over the makeup of the 11-judge spy court, made the appointment.

Although the court meets in secret to hear applications from prosecutors, it is increasingly in the public eye. Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed last year that the court approved the collection of a massive amount of U.S. telephone data, much of it related to Americans.

Hogan will succeed presiding judge Reggie Walton, who like Hogan was appointed to the federal bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan.

Hogan's term as presiding judge will extend through May 2016, the court said.

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Howard Goller and Tom Brown)

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