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Kelly: NSA Surveillance Program Shouldn’t Have Been Made Secret

Police Commissioner Also Says NSA Should Improve Data Safeguards
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (Credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Monday that Americans deserved to know about the fact that the government has been collecting data on phone calls and Internet usage.

“I don’t think it ever should have been made secret,” Kelly said.

He also said the National Security Agency needs to get better at safeguarding data.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked details about the program, has claimed that from his desk he could “wiretap” any phone call or email – a claim that top intelligence officials have denied.

“I think if you listen to Snowden,” Kelly said, “he indicates that there’s some sort of malfeasance, people sort of sitting around and watching the data. I think it’s a problem if that’s in fact what’s happening. If in fact they can rummage through this type of material without authorization, I think it’s something that has to be looked at.”

NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander talked about the program last week. There were few details of the top secret cyber security programs, but praise for the people who do it, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

“They do this lawfully. They take compliance oversight, protecting civil liberties and privacy and the security of this nation to heart,” Gen. Keith Alexander said.

The NSA chief contended the surveillance programs have stopped or helped to stop dozens of terrorist attacks.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have said they want to see some parts of these surveillance programs declassified — to help explain to the public what information is collected and how it is used.

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