The Senate Intelligence Committee is doing some damage control after it was revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) gathered millions of Verizon telephone records. The Senate reminded members of Congress that they have approved laws granting the NSA to do that.
“This is nothing particularly new. This has been going on for seven years under the auspices of the (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) authority and every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this,” stated Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). “To my knowledge we have not had any citizen who has registered a complaint relative to the gathering of this information, and it is simply what we call ‘meta data.'”
The NSA is known for gathering phone numbers between two callers, the length of those calls, and other identifying information. The content of the conversation is not grabbed by the NSA.
Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that this method of data collection is useful for preventing terrorist attacks. She said that there has been 100 plots and arrests made since 2009 by the FBI. “I do not know to what extent meta data was used or if it was used, but I do know this: Terrorists will come after us if they can, and the only thing that we have to deter this is good intelligence,” Feinstein said.