By Ben Geman - 06/16/13 02:09 PM EDT
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said the National Security Agency is not listening to the content of Americans’ phone calls. [WATCH VIDEO: NSA UPDATE]
His Sunday comments on the CNN program “State of the Union” follow a report that lawmakers were informed in a classified briefing that the NSA does not need court authorization to listen to domestic calls.
“It is against the law for the NSA to record and monitor U.S., Americans’ phone calls. It is against the law, and the law is very clear on this,” Rogers said.
“It would mean that the NSA had to conspire with the FBI, would have to conspire with both parties in Congress on the intelligence committees and the oversight functions in the executive branch to do something beyond what the law very narrowly allows. I find that implausible,” he added. “The NSA is not listening to Americans phone calls and it is not monitoring their emails. If it did it is illegal, it is breaking the law.”
The claim follows revelation of the NSA’s sweeping collection of the numbers, location, and duration of calls, but not the contents of conversations.
Rogers defended the NSA's recently revealed, classified phone and internet surveillance programs, arguing they are protecting the nation from terrorist attacks.