The top Republican on the House Homeland Security committee has challenged suggestions that the Obama administration may have issued recent terrorism alerts to make a stronger case for the National Security Administration’s controversial electronic surveillance program.
"It's absolutely crazy to say there's any conspiracy here," Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Sunday on ABC's "This Week". "Just from seeing the intelligence, I've seen it, the government would have been totally negligent to not take the actions taken."
On Friday, the United States closed embassies and issued travel warnings for Americans traveling abroad, citing an unspecified terrorist threat. A New York Times article on Saturday said some analysts and congressional officials view the actions as an attempt by the Obama administration to divert attention from controversy surrounding the NSA’s data-collection program.
King insisted that the threats are real. "I'm a Republican," he said. "I've had problems with the administration on different issues, but what they are doing now is what has to be done."
Another prominent Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), defended the NSA program Sunday on CNN's State of the Union. "We need to have policies in place that can deal with the threats that exist and they are real and they are growing," he said.
Graham also suggested that lawmaker criticisms of the NSA program may be misguided. "To members of the Congress who want to reform the NSA program, great," he said. "But if you want to gut it, you make us much less safe and you’re putting our nation at risk."