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Key U.S. Rep. says curbing NSA would be dangerous

July 28, 2013 at 2:50 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, July 28 (UPI) -- The head of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday it is necessary to monitor the U.S. communication systems because it's the same one terrorists use.

In an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said National Security Agency collection of telephone and Internet data is a well-regulated and effective anti-terrorism tool.

"Terrorists now use the same communication systems in America that we do, so they are intermingled with us," said Rogers -- who contended limiting the surveillance program was "taking away the one tool that we know will allow us to (find) a nexus between a foreign terrorist overseas talking to somebody in the United States."

Rogers warned limitations on the NSA would amount to turning back the calendar to the state of security prior to Sept. 11, 2001, when a lack of constant surveillance of seemingly routine and private communications contributed to ability of al-Qaida operatives to carry out attacks in the United States.

Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., countered that the NSA data-gathering capability was far too broad and allowed intelligence agencies to poke around people's financial and medical records.

Udall said the NSA should be required to obtain a court warrant before obtaining records from phone carriers, as is the current practice for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

"We don't need the NSA to be collecting in bulk all of these records of innocent Americans," said Udall. "It's not effective. I would argue that it also comes close to being unconstitutional, and there is a better way to do this."

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