October 27th, 2013
04:53 PM ET
9 years ago

Rogers to European allies: NSA keeps you 'safe'

Washington (CNN) - The House Intelligence chief emphatically told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday that the NSA's foreign intelligence gathering operations keep allies "safe."

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that the vision being presented to the American public of a nation spying on its closest allies does not jibe with reality. According to Rogers, the U.S. counterterror operation abroad "keeps the French safe."

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"If the French citizens knew exactly what that was about, they would be applauding and popping champagne corks," Rogers said. "This whole notion that we're going to go after each other on what is really legitimate protection of nation-state interest, I think is disingenuous."

Rogers faulted the media for misrepresenting the information given to them by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, claiming that overseas news outlets such as Der Spiegel in Germany and Le Monde in France are guilty of "smash and grab" reporting.

"This was about a counterterrorism program that had nothing to do with French citizens," Rogers said, referring to the Le Monde report that the United States listened in on 70 million phone calls between its citizens. "That is 100 percent wrong."

Dismissing much of the public fervor over the most recent reports regarding the NSA's intelligence collection of information United States allies, Rogers asserted foreign governments should worry about their own surveillance outfits - both their effectiveness and lack of oversight.

"I think they need to have a better oversight structure in Europe," Rogers said. "I think they would be enlightened to find out what their intelligence services may or may not be doing."

Citing the built-in barriers to conducting intelligence operations, including court orders for phone collection and congressional review of surveillance efforts, Rogers attempted to turn the tables on the country's European counterparts, intimating that most would be shocked by the extent of their countries' intelligence gathering.

"You have a big group of people sitting at the table deciding if what we should do is right or wrong," Rogers said. "They don't have that in some of our European capitals."

Earlier on the program, CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto said Germany's public denouncement of the NSA's spying goes "beyond public posturing," something seemingly confirmed in an interview the country's interior minister gave the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Hans-Peter Friedrich told Bild am Sonntag he wants "complete information" regarding the allegations that the NSA monitored German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone After the paper reported that President Barack Obama discussed the operation with NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander.

Adding that the United States "broke German law on German soil" if Americans did intercept calls as multiple reports allege, Friedrich echoed Merkel to the German paper, saying "'the confidence in our ally USA is shaken."

An NSA spokeswoman denied the report and said the President has never "discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Merkel."

Ahead of a German delegation of intelligence officials visit to Washington this week, the Obama administration admitted to some overreach in its intelligence gathering. The president's homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, wrote in USA Today on Friday that the President instructed the NSA to review all its "surveillance capabilities," including its overseas initiatives.

"We want to ensure we are collecting information because we need it and not just because we can," Monaco wrote.

CNN's Kevin Liptak, Chloe Sommers, Frederik Pleitgen and Per Nyberg contributed to this report.

Filed under: Mike Rogers • NSA • President Obama
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    Can you imagine how much safer we would be if Rogers and the rest of the baggers would keep their mouth shut?

    October 27, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  2. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Rogers is one of the only GOP that puts America first , the GOP teaparty trash, who knows what these idiots stand for except give tax breaks to the rich and deprive people of healthcare .the GOP teaparty IS the garbage of America and the sewage !!!!!

    October 27, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  3. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Notice there have been NO terrorist attacks in America except for boston sence 9/11/01, GUESS WHY??????

    October 27, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. Winston Smith

    The fact is, this activity has been going on since the end of World War Two. The bad this is, it's essential to security for all, not just the United States.

    October 27, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  5. G. Porter

    NSA keeping us safe! The only reason to spy on industry in other countries is for industrial espionage.

    October 27, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. viethdw

    Reblogged this on The PolitiBlog and commented:
    An interesting perspective on the NSA's foreign intelligence

    October 27, 2013 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. Geordie

    You are so estranged from the rest of the world due to the lack of foreign relations and too many people around the world don't trust Obama.
    History will tell you how he has destroyed America from within and it will take a long time to rebuild trust with other countries.
    American media covers up for him , the foreign press sees the real Obama , inexperienced and incompetent , a glorified community organizer.

    October 27, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  8. Tigas

    The House Intelligence chief emphatically told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday that the NSA's foreign intelligence gathering operations keep allies "safe."

    Pretty much a confession that blatant spying is rampant by the NSA.
    Didn't Obama pledge to get rid of the Patriot Act?
    Why did Obama sign the renewal?

    October 27, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Yeah, right.........just like they did in BOSTON! Anyone who thinks they are even working on security, needs to face the truth.........they are using it for POLITICAL purposes, and they are allowing security to be LAX!

    October 27, 2013 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  10. cwiz

    Precisely. Finally calling the media out for their distortions. They're taking everything Edward Snowden says as truth, then building sensual stories around it. And we wonder why people are in a panic? This is coming from a population that is so disconnected with reality and hard work that they'd never be able to truly appreciate what our intelligence community and military do for us. They rally behind hollywood interpretations and media stories like its gospel because they factually know very little about the real world. And I say all of this as someone who has previously worked military intelligence. People are in their right to ask questions and have a checks and balances. But this dramatic and unfair targetting of the NSA is ignorant.

    October 27, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  11. el dono

    Isn't that Jack Bauer?

    October 27, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  12. Bill Cooper

    I'm sure organized electronic gang stalking is protecting Americans, not. If your not aware about organized electronic gang stalking then look it up. If your hearing radio signals in your head you can contract Cathy Meadows to get consulted on how to stop the harassment because the cops are in on it. This man is lying dirtbag and Hollywood is not your friend. They say victims have Truman Show Syndrome which is a sadistic joke since President Harry Truman established the NSA. The movie Truman Show with Jim Carrey, The Game with Micheal Douglas, Cabin in the Woods with Christopher Hemsworth, etc... are all propaganda to make gang stalking appear far fetched.

    October 27, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  13. DP

    We've been fed these lines for so long, "if you only knew, keeps you safe, etc." Maybe him trying them on foreign nations will get the point across to more Americans how absurd they are.

    October 27, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  14. GotOut

    I am raping you for your own good...

    October 27, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  15. Name tex mackay

    Am a nigerian!I love the good works of the NSA!making the world safe!some EU states are corrupt!Gadafis son bank billions of euros in austria bank!and got austrias national pasport!this man leaves and plans evil all along in austria!some EU states harbours terrorist and offer them safe heaven for asylum!the germans trained the pilots that blew world trade centre!NSA,am proud of you!world leaders panicks now!you knew all there secret meetings against america!shame on them!the germans still have many nazis in government!

    October 27, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  16. J.V.Hodgson

    His whole argument falls apart when it is well known that French, German and UK and other ( European) intelligence services share data with the CIA and NSA services in the US.
    Last I heard a US court has no international jurisdiction, and wire tapping is still illegal unless a federal warrant is approved in the USA.
    The USA ( not being a member of the IC of CJ) and its courts cannot legally approve the tapping of Angela Merkel's or anyone else's cell phone. These states ( Germany, France UK) are not " enemies of the US".
    You sir house intelligence chief Rogers are a disgrace, unethical in every respect, and assume The USA rules OK and its law and and procedures are the only viable governance world wide... problem is it don't even work in the good Ole US of A.
    You are an arrogant, ignorant SOB, and that's why America's international reputation is declining, and people like you will simply exacerbate the problem!

    October 28, 2013 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  17. A True Conservative

    I really have no problem with the NSA and CIA monitoring phone calls etc of foreign leaders – spying on other nations and leaders has been going since the dawn of time. Where I have a problem is the president and his minions saying that, once again, he knew NOTHING about this. If he really is so out of the loop on everything, why do we pay him? He leading from so far behind that he doesn't even seem to know that there is a front line....let lone where it is!

    October 28, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |