Face the Nation transcripts June 16, 2013: McDonough and Rogers on NSA surveillance

Syria, the NSA and more with White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and a panel featuring David Corn, Barton Gellman, Peggy Noonan and Rick Stengel

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Chairman...

ROGERS: ...in New York City would have killed some estimate thousands of people.

SCHIEFFER: I'm terribly sorry, I'm going to have to ask you to hold that thought for just a minute. We're going to have to take a commercial break. I'll be back with a personal thought and then we hope you will stay around and join us on page two after this.

SCHIEFFER: I like people who are willing to stand up to the government. As a reporter, it's my job to do that from time to time. Some of the people I admire most in the government, men and women who led the civil rights movement -- Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr.-- they are true heroes. I'm not ready to put Edward Snowden in that category. For one thing, I don't remember Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks running off and hiding in China. The people who led the civil rights movement were willing to break the law and suffer the consequences. That's a little different than putting the nation's security at risk and running away. I know 11 people who died or lost a member of their family on 9/11. My younger daughter lived in Manhattan then. It was six hours before we knew she was safe. I'm not interested in going through that again. I don't know yet if the government is over-reached since 9/11 to reinforce our defenses, and we need to find out. What I do know, though, is that these procedures were put in place and are being overseen by officials we elected and we should hold them accountable. I think what we have in Edward Snowden is just a narcissistic young man who has decided he is smarter than the rest of us. I don't know what he is beyond that, but he is no hero. If he has a valid point -- and I'm not even sure he does -- he would greatly help his cause by voluntarily coming home to face the consequences. Back in a minute.

SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now. For most of you, we'll be right back with more "Face the Nation," more with chairman Mike Rogers and our all-star panel of analysts.

SCHIEFFER: And welcome back to Face the Nation. We want to go back to the house intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers. We were talking about this big story about has the National Security Agency over-reached? What is your take, Mr. Chairman? Do you think the government's done anything wrong here at this point?

ROGERS: Well, it depends again what you're talking about when you're talking about the IRS scandal or Benghazi, I think there were certainly government misdeeds and maybe even criminal behavior. When you're talking about this NSA issue, the sheer volume of oversight -- and we've gone back and reviewed every bit of it, the fact that the court ordered it, the court reviews it every 10 days, especially on the phone records. It has to reapply for the court order every 90 days, review there. Congress, both Republicans and Democrats. So if you think about people who are saying things if I believe were part of this program I wouldn't support it, that both Republicans and Democrats in the House Intelligence Committee and Senate intelligence committee would have to collude with the NSA who would also have to collude with the FBI, with the Department of Justice, with other parts of the executive branch to violate the law. I think that's improbable. And given this town and being able to keep anything secret, I don't believe that can happen. So they're not listening to Americans' phone calls. They're not reading Americans' e-mails. We have huge privacy protections put on this programs. And it does serve to target foreign persons on foreign soil who are targeting and plotting terrorist plots in the United States. And we can show that there are several dozen or more -- and we believe there are more -- that we've disrupted plots that have saved Americans' lives and also our allies in excess of 20 countries have benefited from information from these programs, again, that are clearly targeted at foreign persons living in foreign countries. And that's what's so frustrating for those of us who know the program best, I think.

SCHIEFFER: I think I just heard you say you think there was criminal activity, I take it, involving the IRS? Are you connecting that to the White House? Have you found a connection there yet?

ROGERS: No. What I'm saying is the White House themselves have admitted that people in the White House knew about this behavior, and I think that investigation is still ongoing. Clearly, when the government in any way, shape, or form uses its power to intimidate citizens who are donating to whatever their political belief -- Republican or Democrat-- that's a criminal activity. And the fact that initially was said it wasn't at the White House, and later said, well, people did know at the White House, so it's clearly gotten to the front steps. And I think the investigation needs to be conducted thoroughly to make sure who knew what when, who provided the orders, what kind of a relationship and what kind of judgment and what kind of instructions were given to the individuals who did visit the White House from the IRS, who also had a connection with the program that specifically targeted people for their political beliefs.