Mike Rogers: Examples of thwarted terror plots will spur Americans to support surveillance

June 16, 2013
FILE - In this June 6, 2013 file photo, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. MikeRogers, R-Mich. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Rogers says those who want to harm the U.S. are already changing their behavior after leaks about classified U.S. surveillance programs, also saying it's part of the damage from disclosures by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden of two NSA programs that collect millions of telephone records and track Internet activity. He gave no details. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin File)
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers(R-Mich.) (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said Sunday that once Americans learn more about the extent to which the National Security Agency's sweeping surveillance methods helped thwart terror plots, they will warm up to the efforts.

"If you can see just the number of cases where we've actually stopped a plot, I think Americans will come to a different conclusion than all the misleading rhetoric I've heard over the the last few weeks," Rogers said on CNN's "State of the Union."

NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander said last week the agency's surveillance programs helped thwart "dozens" of terrorist attacks in the United States and abroad. He vowed to quickly make public records that show the success of a recently revealed telephone record program.

Rogers said he expected that examples would be provided "hopefully early this next week" and that he is hopeful the disclosures will be as accurate as possible without giving up details terrorists could use to their advantage.

The Intelligence Committee chairman defended the agency's surveillance program against critics, saying that catching terrorists would be more difficult without them. "I think its harder to catch [terrorists] if we don't have something like this," Rogers said.

Rogers announced Friday that he will not run for the Senate in 2014. He elaborated on his decision Sunday, saying that a bid for the upper chamber would have impeded his ability to head the House Intelligence Committee.

"I would have had really slow down my ability to be chairman," Rogers said.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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Sean Sullivan | June 16, 2013