Rep. Mike Rogers: NSA Phone Surveillance Has Thwarted Attacks

Thursday, 06 Jun 2013 11:14 PM

By Matthew Auerbach

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On Thursday, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, explained his defense of a secret National Security Agency telephone surveillance program by revealing it was responsible for preventing at least one terrorist attack, the Hill reports.

“Within the last few years, this program was used to stop a terrorist attack in the United States,” Rogers said.

“We know that. It’s important. It fills in a little seam that we have, and it’s used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States.”

The Guardian revealed Wednesday it had come into the possession of a leaked secret court order, issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, requiring Verizon to hand over the phone records to the NSA of all of its customers, whether or not they are thought to be involved in any wrongdoing.

The order covers information known as “metadata” -- phone numbers, the time calls were made, the length of those calls and other identifying information but rules out the gathering of the contents of conversations or text messages.

Rogers let it be known that the House has been steadily informed regarding the information gathering and that the order must be reinstated by a judge every 90 days.

“It is legal,” Rogers said.

“It's been authorized by Congress and it has, again, judicial oversight and review.”

According to the Washington Post, Rogers would not get into specifics when talking about the nature of the thwarted terrorist attack, saying only that efforts were underway to declassify the information, which would then be made public.

Later on Thursday, Rogers joined with the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., to release a joint statement praising the order.

“The collection described with yesterday’s disclosure of a purported court order is consistent with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) as passed by Congress, executed by the Executive Branch, and approved by a Federal Court,” the statement read.

“Understanding the necessity of the public’s trust in our intelligence activities, and out of an abundance of caution, the Committee will review this matter to ensure that it too complies with the laws established to protect the American people,” the congressmen wrote.

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