Thursday, June 6, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) -- The chairman of the House Intelligence committee says the ongoing NSA search of telephone records thwarted an attempted terrorist attack in the United States in the last few years.
Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan defended the telephone records collection at a Capitol Hill news conference on Thursday. He said the information culled from the records enabled U.S. authorities to stop a "significant case."
He declined to provide additional details but said he was in touch with U.S. officials about providing more information.
He said the NSA search is for business records and is constantly being reviewed. He said nothing is done without court approval.
The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence committee says the top secret court order for telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon is a three-month renewal of an ongoing practice.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California spoke to reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference on Thursday after the Obama administration defended the National Security Agency's need to collect the records.
Other lawmakers have said previously that the practice is legal under the Patriot Act although civil libertarians have complained about U.S. snooping on American citizens.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters on Thursday that he had no problem with the ongoing practice, saying it was imperative in the war on terror.
Grahams said -- quote - "If we don't do it, we're crazy."
Later at a hearing with Attorney General Eric Holder, Graham said he is a Verizon customer and it doesn't bother him at all if his number was part of the NSA program. He said the goal of the program is to track connections between known terrorist groups and any U.S. phone numbers.
The Obama administration has defended the NSA's activities, calling them important and saying they were approved by all three branches of government.
(The Associated Press. 2013)