Tags: NSA/Surveillance | Richard Burr | NSA | metadata | reauthorization | congress | Americans

Sen. Richard Burr: NSA Phone Records Program Should Continue

By    |   Sunday, 10 May 2015 02:03 PM

The National Security Agency's bulk collection of telephone records should continue because the program is "very effective at keeping America safe," and does not jeopardize Americans' privacy, Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr said Sunday.

"We've had absolutely no incident of anybody's privacy being intruded on," the North Carolina Republican told ABC "This Week With George Stephanopoulos" co-host Martha Raddatz.  "We collect telephone numbers that are de-identified. We don't know whose they are."

The only time the NSA is interested in a person's phone number, said Burr, is "if we know they have talked to a telephone number of a terrorist. If that happens, we have to go to court and advise a judge, looks at the evidence and gives us permission then to find out whose telephone number that is."

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However, the metadata that is collected does not allow a look at the conversation that occurs.

Raddatz pointed out that the USA Freedom Act, which comes up for a House vote this week, stops the NSA's bulk collection of all Americans' phone records while targeting just those with a reasonable suspicion of terrorism, but Burr said doing that will "turn us back to pre-9/11."

"We had the opportunity to do that even without a judge's order," said Burr, noting that the measures were "cumbersome" but those were the rules.

"What we looked at was the impact of 9/11 and the fact that we might have been able to stop 9/11 had we had bulk collection," said Burr.

And while there are no absolutes that collecting all phone records would have stopped the deadly 2001 attacks, Burr said he can only take advice from those involved at the time.

"The reality is that the bulk collection does not give us any Americans' names," said Burr,. "If we had to go to content, I can assure you it would take another court order."

Meanwhile, Burr said that the men and women in the intelligence agency and in law enforcement are working around the clock on the latest threats posed by the Islamic State.

"We've seen an uptick in social media," said Burr. "We've seen the target of military individuals [and] there was every reason to raise the alert. We can't stay at this alert level 24/7, 365 days a year, but it's important that we respond to any potential uptick in terrorism. The intent is there."

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The National Security Agency's bulk collection of telephone records should continue because the program is very effective at keeping America safe, and does not jeopardize Americans' privacy, Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr said Sunday. We've had absolutely no...
Richard Burr, NSA, metadata, reauthorization, congress, Americans, privacy
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2015-03-10
Sunday, 10 May 2015 02:03 PM
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