August 4th, 2013
11:10 AM ET
9 years ago

Debate over NSA programs gets renewed attention amid terror threat

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(CNN) – There's no proof that the current terror threats in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond were uncovered through a federal program that monitors domestic telephone data, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday.

"There's no indication, unless I'm proved wrong later, that that program which collects vast amounts of … domestic telephone data contributed to information about this particular plot," Schiff said on CNN's "State of the Union."

The scope of the secret program set off a political firestorm over civil liberties when a leaked document detailing it was published this summer. Officials say the program only collects metadata of domestic phone calls - under federal court permission - not actual conversations.

Schiff has criticized the program, and he joined many Democrats and some Republicans in an attempt to pass a proposal to curb the phone surveillance program. The measure was narrowly defeated late last month.

Another program that was leaked in June revealed that the National Security Agency could monitor online activity by suspected terrorists abroad.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, said Sunday that the terror threats, which forced the U.S. to close 22 embassies and consulates Sunday, further verify why the NSA surveillance programs need to be kept in place.

"The NSA program is proving its worth yet again," he said on "State of the Union."

"To the members of Congress who want to reform the NSA program, great," he told Candy Crowley, CNN's chief political correspondent. "If you want to gut it, you make us much less safe, and you're putting our nation at risk. We need to have policies in place that can deal with the threats that exist, and they are real, and they are growing."

Rep. Peter King, R-New York, meanwhile hit back at the idea that the government is acting this weekend in a way to divert attention from the controversial NSA programs.

"It's absolutely crazy to say there's any conspiracy here," he said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "The government would have been totally negligent if it did not take the action it's taken. Whether or not there was any controversy over the NSA at all, all of these actions would have been taken."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Congress • NSA • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. g

    the new soviet states of america,and they condemn iran for spying on their citizens,can,t use that one no more

    August 4, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  2. Tigas

    As predicted, the propaganda machine rushes to support Obama's push to eliminate the 4th Amendment.
    "I swerve to protect the Constution of the United States..."
    More Obama lies.

    August 4, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Did anyone ever consider.........this whole issue is nothing but a sham to justify the government spying on the public????

    August 4, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. saywhat

    "The new NSA facility would be 7 times larger than Pentagon" News
    "NSA collects everything a user does on the Internet" News
    The scope of spying is much wider than even our venerated lawmakers have been told or are supposed to know.
    As one senator said " as if its none of our business".
    And the threat which is making the news is "from Yemen" officials say.
    According to Fox News, US drone strikes tripled in Yemen during 2012.

    August 4, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  5. Name Uche Agonsi

    Why dont Obama Administration go it the 'Abortion Way' . States that accept the current security system should retain it , those opposed to it will enjoy their civil liberty. In the end we will determine the safer of the units........the only problem is to what extent each state will be secured. Some can even choose not to have police...... Lets i forget it might increase unemployment rate too. Good Luck.

    August 4, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. USAPeasant

    Guys this recent spat of terror threats is NOT a sham. Look and see that the terrorists have all ready done three major prison breaks within the last few weeks. The international terror scene is very much real. Like this article says though, there is no indication (yet) that the illegal NSA domestic spying program uncovered the recent threats. These threats were most likely uncovered by good old fashioned constitutional spying. The issue people have is that the government is conducting too broad of a spying measure on its OWN people. It is the government's job to spy on the foreigners, but it is not their job, and is even ilelgal, for them to spy on Americans. Please keep in mind that we have to leave in place some form of espionage because the world pretty much hates us. We must merely find a way to make it so that the government is spying on foreigners only and not innocent Americans, or that the innocent Americans at least get compensation (as per the 5th amendment) if they are spied upon.

    As usual Peter King (supporter of terrorism, wikipedia him) and Lindsey Graham (supporter of AQ in Syria) are merely trying to manipulate people to keep their shams going. That's okay though because we have an excellent and hopeful rising generation of politicians that are actually concerned about our rights. Merely vote out Peter King and Graham and any other corruptors and replace them with this new generation of America-loving politicians. We're gonna be all right people, we can help stop terrorism and also regain our freedom and culture that people like King and Graham tried to throw away.

    August 4, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Name jk. Sfl. GOP conservatives,the garbage of America.

    I bet if we had this program on 9-11 2001 and prevented those attacks , the GOP whorls still be complaining. The GOP has no credibility left and will be out of power in 2014 when the lose the house and senate because of their obstruction and 40 losing votes to block healthcare!!!!!!!

    August 4, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |