Chambliss, a senior senator from Georgia, a vice chair of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a joint press release with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the committee's chair, that the controversial program which allows the government to obtain records of most calls made in U.S. and emails, social media activity and instant messages, has been used to stop terrorist activity in U.S.
"The FISA business records program has contributed to disrupting numerous terrorist attacks against our nation. It has been reviewed and authorized by all three branches of government and is subject to strict controls," said Chambliss and Feinstein. “Since the public disclosure of the business records program, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has explored how the program can be modified to add extra privacy protections without sacrificing its effectiveness.
“We believe this debate in the Congressional Intelligence and Judiciary committees should continue and that any amendments to defund the program on appropriations bills would be unwise.”
The information about the programs was leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
While the U.S. government has insisted that the programs protect but don't violate the privacy of U.S. residents, some of the leaked documents show that the NSA does record audio of some phone calls.
The NSA has been prohibited from recording domestic communications by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.