Rep. Michael Rogers said adjustments are being made to US surveillance programs (Courtesy)
WASHINGTON — While emphasizing that the cyber threat continues to be grave, US House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Michael Rogers, R-Mich., said Wednesday that the public is moving beyond the immediate upset that surrounded the Edward Snowden disclosures, and that careful work is now underway to make “adjustments” to surveillance programs.
Rogers was direct in his criticism of the media, whom he blamed for creating hysteria that led to widespread outrage at the details of National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs.
“If we can get past the myths of this, then I think we can get to a better place,” he said. “I think we’ve passed the emotional phase of ‘the NSA is listening to all of you.’”
Rogers was speaking at what the CIA billed as its first public conference, held at Georgetown University by that institution’s Center for Security Studies. Rogers was speaking as part of a panel on emerging threats facing the United States.
He was critical of the USA Freedom Act, a bill designed to curtail NSA eavesdropping activities, part of an “onslaught of legislation to deal with something that wasn’t happening.” Rogers said the greatest misunderstanding came from the belief that the NSA was busy listening to all citizens’ calls.
“You’re really nice people, but you’re just not that interesting,” he said.
Earlier in the conference, former FBI Director Robert Mueller put his support behind another piece of legislation that has slowly been winding its way through Congress, a cyber information-sharing bill that would offer legal protections for companies that share details of attacks with the government.
“We will not be successful unless we find a mechanism where information can flow to FBI and others,” he said. ■