The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee insisted that Americans will come to support National Security Agency surveillance once they fully understand its importance and how it has stopped “dozens” of attacks. Rep. Mike Rogers told CNN that “if you can see just the number of cases where we’ve actually stopped the plot, I think Americans will come to a different conclusion than all the misleading rhetoric I’ve heard over the last few weeks,” according to Politico.
The assurances come after top intelligence officials said Saturday that NSA surveillance programs have managed to thwart plots in the United States and more than 20 other countries, according to the Associated Press. Officials say they are working to declassify information about the plots that were thwarted to illustrate the value of the surveillance.
Rogers also insisted on CNN that the NSA is not recording Americans’ phone calls, saying that any reports that suggest otherwise amount to “misinformation.” His assurances came after CNET reported that lawmakers were told in a classified briefing that the NSA does not need judicial authorization to listen to domestic phone calls. A lawmaker said he was told the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.” That would seem to extend to e-mails, text messages and instant messages, according to CNET’s Declan McCullagh. But Rogers insisted that was not the case. “If it did, it is illegal,” Rogers said. “I think (Americans) think there’s this mass surveillance of what you’re saying on your phone call and what you’re typing in your emails. That is just not happening.”