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Senate Intelligence Committee head concerned about possible change in NSA data storage

  • 1b797b0268b03102490f6a706700c7cc.jpg

    President Barack Obama talks about National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at the Justice Department in Washington.Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, the president called for ending the government's control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court's permission before accessing the records. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)The Associated Press

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    From left, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper sit together in the front row before President Barack Obama spoke about National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at the Justice Department in Washington. The president called for ending the government's control of phone data from millions of Americans. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)The Associated Press

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    In this Jan. 17, 2014, photo, President Barack Obama Talks about National Security Agency surveillance at the Justice Department in Washington. Obama’s orders to change some U.S. surveillance practices put the burden on Congress to deal with a national security controversy that has alarmed Americans and outraged foreign allies. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)The Associated Press

The head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said she's concerned about the idea that data collected from a National Security Agency program that harvests Americans' phone records might be stored by others.

As part of a review of the NSA's data collection, President Barack Obama directed Attorney General Eric Holder and the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to look into storing the data outside the government.

"I think that's a very difficult thing," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told NBC's "Meet the Press" in an interview aired Sunday. "The whole purpose of this program is to provide instantaneous information to be able to disrupt any plot that may be taking place."

Feinstein said privacy advocates may not understand the threat that exists against the U.S. "New bombs are being devised. New terrorists are emerging, new groups. Actually, a new level of viciousness. And I think we need to be prepared. I think we need to do it in a way that respects people's privacy rights," she said.

After disclosures fueled by secret documents provided to journalists by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, Americans and people abroad were shocked to learn the extent of the NSA's surveillance activities. Obama said he was leaving most of the programs unchanged but was adding some restrictions.

Feinstein said she doesn't think the NSA program will be shut down despite its critics and pointed to Obama's desire to maintain its capability.

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said he, too, has some concerns about changing the NSA program but noted that he and Obama agree it's legal and proper and has not been abused.

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