Republican Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan is unexpectedly defending the NSA surveillance program in Europe and calling the reports about its nature “100 percent wrong.”
Making an appearance on the CNN Sunday morning show “State Of The Union”, Rogers, who is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, came to the defense of the NSA surveillance activities, which have come under fire from two of the US’s closest allies Germany and France.
The revelations that the NSA has been tapping into German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s private cell phone calls have been received with indignation all over Europe.
Speaking specifically on the French situation, Rogers stated the nature of the surveillance is being “misinterpreted.”
“This was about a counterterrorism program that had nothing to do with French citizens,” he said. “If the French citizens knew exactly what that was about, they would be applauding and popping champagne corks.”
Rogers also called the criticism from European leaders of the NSA spying program “disingenuous.”
“It’s a good thing. It keeps the French safe, it keeps the U.S. safe. It keeps our European allies safe. This whole notion that we’re going to go after each other on what is really legitimate protection of nation-state interests I think is disingenuous.”
The upheaval comes in the heels of more of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations, as promised by the now exiled whistleblower who currently is residing in Russia after being allowed safe passage to avoid facing charges in the US.
Representative Rogers defended the right of the United States and the Obama administration to gather information that protects its national interests and that of its allies saying:
“Sometimes our friends have relationships with our adversaries,” he said. “We need to be respectful and we need to be accurate, it needs to be overseen … but we should collect information that is helpful to the United States’ interests.”
“The bigger news story here would be if the United States intelligence services weren’t trying to collect information that would protect U.S. interests both home and abroad,” Rogers said.
Rogers hinted that European nations have less capabilities than that of the NSA surveillance program, if they were to attempt to return the favor by eavesdropping on US elected officials.
Germany is demanding an official explanation from the Obama administration, after the latest revelations. Similarly, the US Ambassador in Spain has been called in to answer questions about millions of phone taps by the NSA surveillance program in that country.