WASHINGTON -- The government "really blew it" on conducting surveillance programs that riled foreign leaders and domestic skeptics, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg said yesterday.

"They're continuing to blow it in some ways and I hope they become more transparent," Zuckerberg, 29, said on ABC's "This Week." "These things are always in balance, in terms of doing the right things and also being clear and telling people about what you're doing."

The National Security Agency is facing scrutiny in Congress and abroad over revelations that it spied on foreign leaders and gathered emails and phone records of innocent Americans. Most of the revelations were exposed by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who is in Russia under temporary asylum.

Zuckerberg, whose Menlo Park, Calif.-based social media company started its initial public offering in May 2012, has spent much of the last year becoming involved in political issues, from education in New Jersey to infrastructure development in Africa. In April he announced the formation of an advocacy group called FWD.us to lobby for changes to immigration policy, higher academic standards and investments in scientific research.

"The future of our economy is a knowledge economy, and that means getting the most talented people into this country is the most important thing we can do to make sure the companies of tomorrow are founded here," Zuckerberg said.

There are "a lot of misconceptions" about the legality of 11 million undocumented people in the United States, Zuckerberg said. "It seems like it's one of the biggest civil rights issues of our time." -- Bloomberg News

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