CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the senior member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he is not concerned with recent revelations of data collection and spying by the National Security Agency and said nobody's privacy is being violated.
"Has anybody actually had their privacy invaded? Nobody's ever come up with a single name," Rockefeller said Friday.
Rockefeller, D-W.Va., also said people would know if their privacy was violated by the NSA, but he did not elaborate on how they would know.
He said people need to know that the telephone "metadata" the NSA collects -- phone numbers, locations and call times -- is different than actually eavesdropping on calls.
"Nobody listens. There is no surveillance, in the sense of listening, only surveillance in the sense of somebody called somebody here, who called somebody over there and you put the three together and then you evaluate what's going to happen," Rockefeller said.
Rockefeller was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee when overhauls of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act were passed in 2007 and 2008.
He said the court established by that act is effective in ensuring the privacy of Americans. The NSA is supposed to go to the FISA court for a warrant before it can conduct electronic surveillance within the United States.
"There are very few warrants which are actually issued, Rockefeller said, "very few."