WASHINGTON – The White House and congressional backers of the National Security Agency's electronic surveillance program are warning that ending the massive collection of phone records from millions of Americans would put the nation at risk from another terrorist attack.
With a high-stakes showdown vote looming in the House on Wednesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney issued an unusual, nighttime statement on the eve of the vote.
The measure by Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan would cancel statutory authority for the secret program. Carney contends doing so would, in his words, "hastily dismantle one of our intelligence community's counterterrorism tools."
The head of the NSA, Gen. Keith Alexander, has urged lawmakers to reject it. Seven Republican committee chairmen issued a similar plea in a widely circulated letter to their colleagues.