Sen. Leahy on NSA claim: 'Baloney'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyFinger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs Senate panel advances bill targeting online child sexual abuse MORE (D-Vt.) said Thursday the National Security Agency’s claim that they’re “very protective” of Americans’ information is “baloney.” [WATCH VIDEO]

Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” that the NSA’s bulk metadata collection program has not thwarted a single terrorist attack.


President Obama, NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander, and lawmakers, such as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), have said the program has helped stop at least 50 terrorist plots.

“The other thing that keeps striking me is that [the NSA says] ‘we’re very protective of this information.’ Baloney,” Leahy said. “They weren’t protective enough that they could stop a sub-contractor, Mr. Snowden, from stealing millions of their biggest secrets. To this day, they still don’t know all of what he’s stolen.”

Leahy has introduced several bills that would change the NSA’s operations. One bill, the USA Freedom Act, would end the NSA’s metadata program. 

President Obama will unveil new agency reforms on Friday but is expected to keep the metadata program in place, reports say.

Leahy said he doesn’t yet know what Obama will announce specifically.

New reports suggest Obama would likely announce the creation of a public advocate to serve on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court, which oversees data collection.

A public advocate, Leahy said, would “improve the credibility of the court” and would be a “significant” reform.