Senator Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, joined with Democratic chairwoman Dianne Feinstein in defending the phone records monitoring reported by The Guardian yesterday.
“This is nothing new. This has been going on for seven years … every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this,” Georgia’s senior senator stated, per a Politico email. “To my knowledge there has not been any citizen who has registered a complaint.”
The Guardian’s report highlighted an April 25 court order from the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) which granted the FBI authority to obtain reports from Verizon “on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the U.S. and between the U.S. and other countries.”
That data is comprised of “the numbers of both parties…location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls,” with the contents of each call going uncovered.
Chambliss further defended the practice on its merits for collecting information on terrorist networks.
“It has proved meritorious because we have collected significant information on bad guys, but only on bad guys, over the years,” he said.
Feinstein echoed the sentiment, saying “this is the exact three-month renewal of what has been in place for the past seven years.”
“This renewal is carried out by the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] under the business records section of the Patriot Act. Therefore it is lawful. It has been briefed to Congress,” the California Democrat continued.