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Published: Thursday 12 September, 2013

sale bags online sale bags online former officials back US data trawling in wake of new surveillance revelations

This photo released by CBS News shows White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough speaking on CBSs Face the Nation in Washington Sunday June 16, 2013. AP Photo/CBS News, Chris Usher

This photo released by CBS News shows White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough speaking on CBSs Face the Nation in Washington Sunday June 16, 2013. AP Photo/CBS News, Chris Usher

WASHINGTON Top officials from the Obama and Bush administrations say the governments newly exposed secret surveillance programs have been essential to disrupting terrorist plots and have not infringed on Americans civil liberties. The officials justify the massive trawling for phone and Internet data as new revelations add to public disclosures about the classified operations.

Denis McDonough, President Barack Obamas chief of staff, said the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, using aggressive internal checks inside the administration, from inspectors general and routine audits, are overseeing how we do these programs.

McDonough, appearing on CBS Face the Nation, added: The American people can feel confident that we have those three branches looking.

Officials during the Bush administration, including former VicePresident Dick Cheney and former CIA and National Security Agency head Michael Hayden, were among those who appeared on Sunday talk shows to back the sale bags online governments reliance on data collection from both Americans and foreign nationals.

The latest reassurances came as a Washington Post report on Sunday described the massive structure of four major data collection programs that have been set up by the government since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2011. The Post report follows earlier stories based on documents provided by NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Two secret programs, the Post reported in its new disclosures, are aimed at phone and Internet metadata, while two more target contents of phone and Internet communications.

Metadata includes logs and timing of phone calls and lists of Internet communications, but does not include the actual contents of communications. Even without knowing those contents, intelligence officials can learn much from metadata, including likely locations and patterns of behaviour.

A previous sale bags online ly reported surveillance program aimed at the phone logs and location information of millions of Americans is called Mainway, the Post reported. A second program targeting the Internet contact logs and location information of foreign users is called Marina.

A third program, which intercepts telephone calls and routes their contents to government listeners, is called Nucleon.

A fourth program, Prism, exposed recently by Snowden, forces major Internet firms to turn over the detailed contents of Internet communications. Prism is aimed at foreign users but sometimes also sweeps up the content of Americans emails and other Internet communications, officials have acknowledged.

The metadata story does touch upon Americans in a massive way with phone records but not the content. The Prism story is about foreigners and it is about content, Hayden told NBCs Meet the Press.

Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, who heads the House Intel sale bags online ligence Committee, said that any phone metadata from Americans swept up in the surveillance is held under careful safeguards, kept in a lockbox that can only be accessed if it becomes relevant to terror investigations. officials also said Saturday that gathered data is destroyed every five years.

This is a lock box with only phone numbers, no names, no addresses in it, weve used it sparingly, Rogers said on CNNs State of the Union.

But one congressional critic of the secrecy surrounding the governments surveillance raised doubts about the effectiveness about the widespread collection of Americans phone metadata.

I dont think collecting millions and millions of Americans phone calls now this is the metadata, this is the time, place, to whom you direct the calls is making us any safer, said Democratic Sen. Mark Udall. Udall said he would introduce a bill this week to narrow the reach of that collection to only those who have a link to terrorism.

Hayden said he worried that news reports about the programs have often provided erroneous information, much to the harm of a rational national debate. He did not specify those concerns.

The disclosures, provided in recent days by both the Post and The Guardian newspaper, came from classified documents exposed by Snowden, 29, who was working as a private contractor with the NSA and later said he grew disenchanted by what he saw as a growing secret American surveillance apparatus.

I am very, very worried that he still has additional information that he hasnt released yet, the Chinese would welcome the opportunity and probably willing to provide immunity for him or sanctuary for him, if you will, in exchange for what he presumably knows, Cheney said on Fox News Sunday.

McDonough declined to speculate on Snowdens dealings with China or his access to secret documents, citing a law enforcement investigation. But he cautioned against some of the hyperbole that now is being thrown around from him and from others involved in this debate that would somehow cast a pall on the intelligence community. sale bags online