Tags: roger | nsa | vindicated

Rep. Mike Rogers: NSA Vindicated by Presidential Report

Image: Rep. Mike Rogers: NSA Vindicated by Presidential Report

Sunday, 22 Dec 2013 11:46 AM

By Audrey Hudson and Amy Woods

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The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday that a report ordered by the president to review a contentious cell-phone spy program reaffirmed that surveillance efforts should remain in place but with greater transparency rules.

"This puts us on much more solid ground, they found no violations, no unlawful activity, no scandal, none of that was found in this report," Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan said on ABC's "This Week" program.

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The assessment of the National Security Agency's efforts to collect bulk information pertaining to emails and cell phone use by millions of Americans also said there should be tighter restraints on who has access to the data, including a suggestion that phone companies be in charge of securing the metadata.

"The panel said the information is important, but where we keep it may be up for debate," Rogers said.

Some privacy groups have rejected the notion that the federal government should mandate that the collection continue with phone companies in charge of keeping records secure to protect privacy.

However, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, a leading critic of the NSA, said he would support such a mandate.

"We've got to rebuild America's trust in our intelligence community so we can be safe, so we can meet the threats that are all over the world," Udall said.

"But we don't do that by bulk data collection that violates the privacy of Americans," Udall said. "That's unconstitutional and shown not to be effective."

Both lawmakers agreed that Edward Snowden, the former NSA employee who exposed the government's secret program, should be prosecuted and not be granted amnesty if he returned to the U.S.

"I would personally pay for this plane ticket," Rogers said.

"Here's where he has crossed the line: He has contacted a foreign country and said 'I will sell you classified information for something of value.' That's what we call a traitor in this country," Rogers said.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said Sunday the recommendations from the panel are worth examining.

"I'm open to listening to all the recommendations that have come out to see if we can improve upon that without infringing on my rights and my freedoms and my privacy," Manchin said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"We've always heard, as a child growing up and different phases of our life, that 'Big Brother' is watching you and now we've found out that 'Big Brother' is truly watching you," Manchin said. "I think that what we'll do is with that panel's recommendation, be able to double down and look and see what is needed.".

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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