Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee. (Yuri Gripas/REUTERS)

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), who lead the Senate Intelligence Committee, spoke with reporters Thursday morning at a hastily arranged news conference to explain and defend the National Security Agency's collection of Verizon telephone records.

An unofficial transcript of the exchange appears below:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: I just had an opportunity to review the Guardian article and I’d like to make the following points.

As far as I know, this is the exact three month renewal of what has been the case for the past seven years. This renewal is carried out by the FISA Court under the business records section of the Patriot Act. Therefore, it is lawful.