Tags: rogers | white | house | nsa | actor

Rep. Mike Rogers: 'Best Actor Award' to White House for NSA Claim

Sunday, 03 Nov 2013 01:08 PM

By Audrey Hudson

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The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on Sunday downplayed reports that the U.S. has been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and said the revelation was not surprising to top Washington officials.

The National Security Agency (NSA) has denied that the White House gave the orders to spy on Merkel, and officials maintain President Barack Obama was not personally aware of the surveillance that has reportedly been ongoing since 2010.

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"I think there's going to be some best actor awards coming out of the White House this year, and best supporting actor awards coming out of the European Union," Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican, told CBS's "Face the Nation."

"This is just a bit shocking to me that folks who are actively engaged in espionage efforts around the world – and the word espionage is a French word after all – and some notion that there's this big mystery after all of these years that some people just didn't have an understanding about how we collect information to protect the United States, is wrong," Rogers said.

Rogers said politicians on both sides of the aisle have used the reports as an excuse to grandstand and get media attention by criticizing the NSA.

"We've asked them to go out and collect information that protects American, so every politician in Washington, both Republican and Democrat, are seized up by this hyper-partisanship and can't wait to put out a press release how terrible our intelligence services are, and the president seems to be caught like a deer in the headlights," Rogers said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the revelation of the NSA's activities would carry "more political liability than intelligence liability."

Asked by host Bob Schieffer if the NSA has gone too far or if she believes Obama knew about the spying, Feinstein defended the agency and laid responsibility at the White House doors.

"I believe the NSA is filled with good, patriotic people who want to do the right thing," Feinstein said.

"They follow the orders they are given. The administration controls intelligence. The national intelligence framework is put together by the administration. It begins with the director of national intelligence, it goes to the White House," Feinstein said.

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"Essentially, the NSA is told to do certain things, and it does it," Feinstein said.

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