Obama administration: Surveillance doesn't capture conversations

WASHINGTON (WJLA) -- With members of both parties calling for new limits on government surveillance, Obama administration officials outlined on Wednesday how they control massive surveillance programs -- insisting that they do know who you call, but not what you say.

“We don't even capture through this any conversations, so there's no possibility of listening to conversations through what we get in this program, insists Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

Voicing concerns shared by the White House and some top Republicans, Democrat Dianne Feinstein warned of weakening national security by ending the current surveillance programs:

“I believe, based on what I have seen and read on intelligence regularly, that we would place this nation in jeopardy.”

But a coalition of liberals and conservatives continues to call for new limits. On Wednseday, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy said he sees no proof that the telephone data mining prevents terrorist attacks. He also sharply questioned the government’s ability to protect the secrets it has – citing Edward Snowden.

Meanwhile, Snowden’s father went on Russian television on Wednesday to defend his son:

“I would also like to thank President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government for what I believe is the courage, the strength and conviction to keep my son safe,” said Lon.