ATLANTA - Recent revelations that the National Security Agency is monitoring individual phone calls and emails are causing a stir across the country.
President Barack Obama defended the program Friday, as well as local lawmakers.
It was revealed late Wednesday that the NSA has been collecting the phone records of hundreds of millions of U.S. phone customers. The leaked document first reported by The Guardian newspaper gave the NSA authority to collect from all of Verizon's land and mobile customers, but intelligence experts said the program swept up the records of other phone companies too.
"It's important to recognize that you can't have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience," Obama said.
Supporters stress that the NSA must get approval to listen to or look at the content of emails and phone calls from the foreign intelligence surveillance courts.
Channel 2 political reporter Lori Geary asked Sen. Johnny Isakson about the program after he spoke at a real estate convention in downtown Atlanta. He said the surveillance measures began during the George W. Bush administration after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“I can't talk about some of the things I know with regard to what our security procedures are, but I am satisfied that there is no violation of the civil rights of an American citizen in there,” he said.
Georgia's other senator is the ranking Republican on the congressional intelligence committee and said the program authorized by the Patriot Act works to find information to keep Americans safe.
“We have gathered significant information on bad guys but only on bad guys over the years,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss said.