House Intel chairman slams Rep. Amash's NSA amendment

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Rogers said Amash's amendment, which stops the NSA from collecting data under the Patriot Act, was an attempt to take advantage of anger over recent scandals including the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups applying for tax exempt status and the Justice Department's probe of Associated Press journalists in connection to a leak about a thwarted terrorist plot that originated in Yemen.

"It's certainly inflammatory and certainly misleading," Rogers said Wednesday in an interview on Michigan radio station WTKG 1230. "I think he tried to take advantage at any rate of people's anger of the IRS scandal, which is real, and the AP — Associated Press dragnet by the Attorney General, Benghazi — all of those things are very real and there's no oversight function. What they're talking about doing is turning off a program that after 9/11 we realized we missed — we the intelligence community — missed a huge clue."

Rogers added that the NSA's telephone data collection program has helped thwart more than 50 terrorist plots.

"It allows you to see if there is any nexus between these known terrorists overseas and here in the United States," Rogers said. "The standard and oversight are incredibly rigorous. I wish we would have this for the IRS or the AG or the State Department. We don't. We have both Republicans and Democrats look at this in the legislative branch. The court has to approve every inquiry, every phone number they plug into it."

Amash is effectively trying to shut down the program, the chairman said. 

"What they're trying to do is just turn that program off," Rogers said.

The House could vote as early as Wednesday on Amash's amendment. The amendment would be attached to the Defense Appropriations subcommittee bill.

Rogers has not been coy about his opposition to the bill. He, along with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) are circulating a "dear colleague" letter urging fellow House members to vote against the amendment.