The Main Stream

Jun 7, 2013 12:38 PM by NBC News

Spying eyes: Obama defends NSA surveillance

NBC NEWS - The government is snooping on who you're calling and emailing - and this Friday, there's more fallout about that secret program.

The surveillance - authorized by Federal Court - is designed to catch terrorists, but in Washington, lawmakers also concerned it may violate your civil rights.

The Obama Administration is defending the surveillance saying the very people complaining about it, authorized it.

Every time an American makes a phone call, the government knows.

Not names - just phone numbers, and how long you talked. And they don't hear those conversations.

"I feel very violated," said Chicago, Illinois resident Crystal Caffie.

The Obama Administration tells lawmakers. This snooping has prevented specific attacks, "Well it has - but that's classified," said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"How long is it kept? Who monitors it? If being stored indefinitely, then it's a long term concern," said Eugene Spafford, Professor, Purdue University.

"I trust the President will explain to the American people why the administration considers this a critical tool." House Speaker John Boehner (R) Ohio.

Congress repeatedly authorized the program.

"It doesn't bother me one bit for the National Security Administration to have my phone number. Because what they're trying to do is find out what terrorist groups we know about and individuals and who the hell they're calling." Senator Lindsey Graham (R) South Carolina.

A British newspaper first published this secret court order for mass surveillance the administration previously denied.

"Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" asked Senator Ron Wyden, (D) Oregon.

"No sir," replied James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.

The Director Of National Intelligence says he was talking about email. Now nbc has confirmed the government's monitoring that, too - in real-time.

Tapping directly into servers of large internet providers... Looking for suspicious messages and posts mostly to and from other countries.

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