June 06, 2013
Verizon has been releasing phone records and data to the National Security Agency after a court order to do so. Now President Obama and other key lawmakers are defending the action.
It was part of a 20 Million a year program called PRISM, which has also allowed the FBI and NSA to access major sites like Google, YouTube, and Facebook.
The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) says the program to collect phone records has prevented a terrorist attack.
"It was a significant case, it happened in the last few years." says Rogers, he couldn't elaborate because the details about the threat are classified.
The White House put out a statement saying that the NSA only monitors phone numbers and data, and not the names of users and they do not listen to conversations. This practice was started during George W. Bush's Presidency after 9/11.
Privacy advocates say the practice goes too far, including the Rutherford Institute's John Whitehead, who says that living in a free country shouldn't mean you have to look over your shoulder all the time to see who's watching, and that the NSA has done this before.
"They've been violating rights for years so this doesn't surprise me, this is all documented." says Whitehead. "but that fact that they have a broad order to do it now from a core (agency) is pretty scary".