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TODAY   |  June 18, 2013

Rep. Rogers: NSA has thwarted ‘dozens’ of plots

Congressman Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, talks to TODAY’s  Savannah Guthrie about the recently leaked NSA secrets and his concerns about how Edward Snowden had access to them, saying he has released false information.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> rogers, a republican from michigan is chairman of the house committee , good morning to you.

>> good morning, thank you for having me.

>> you're going to have an open hearing this morning where general alexander will come and testify. do you expect him to come armed with specific examples of how terrorist plots have been thwarted?

>> yes, we know there's dozens and we've asked to start declassifying these. he will talk more about declassified terrorist attacks that involved these two programs. the reason it's taking time is pain sakingly they need to make sure that no source, no method is disclosed. we don't want to make this thing more damaging than it has already become to try to catch terrorists trying to stop terror in the united states .

>> is somebody asking the american people to trust that the government can properly handle this information, not misuse it and let it be improperly accessed. how is it that a low level employee like edward snowden had access to this information and was able to do such damage?

>> well, first of all he lied about his salary and lied about his capabilities and lied about his position but what he did have the capability to do as a system's administrator is see anything everything by. think of a traffic cop at the busiest new york city intersection. sees lots of traffic going by. every once in awhile he was able to look in and see it and grab ahold of it and that's exactly what he did. if it's 1,000 piece puzzle he may have took three pieces of it and decided on his own that this was bad for the country and had no idea about the level of oversight, the number of times people have to check and recheck the work on these particular programs and he believed wrongly, of course, according to his internet chat that nsa can listen to american's phone calls or read americans e-mails. they cannot. so the damage caused by this is getting american's worked up by it, number one, which they should be if those things were true, but they're not. but also disclosing information that he has no idea about the depth and danger that he disrupts our ability to find terrorists trying to plot attacks in the united states .

>> he says he has more secrets to reveal. are you concerned that he has information of that caliber and significance?

>> any time you let the enemy know exactly how you do something or exactly how you get information about their movements overseas or their plotting in the united states it becomes much more difficult. so yes, anything he talks about is dangerous and some motion that he thinks he's a whistle blower, he is well beyond that. he made plans and preparations for months to go to china. that's a little bit concerning to us. we don't understand why he would do that if he wanted to go seek asylum in iceland. none of his story makes sense and we're a little nervous that some of the things he was trying to do exceeded his capability so we're curious how did he get that capability? was somebody helping him try to download this and it would be concerning if he decided to disclose things of which he would have no understanding how they work, how they're overseen or how it's protected.

>>> mike rogers , thank you for your time, sir.

>> thanks for having me.