House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers criticized a presidential task force's recommendation that a third-party company should hold telephone data collected by the National Security Agency, saying such a move could compromise privacy rights and national security.
"It opens it up to privacy concerns across the board," the Michigan Republican told "Fox News Sunday."
A surveillance review board recommended to the White House this month that the government end its bulk storage of Americans' phone and Internet communications. It suggests that collected records be held "by private providers or by a private third party" rather than the NSA itself.
"This approach would allow the government access to the relevant information when such access is justified, and thus protect national security without unnecessarily threatening privacy and liberty," said the report by the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies.
President Obama set up the task force in August after NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked to the media secret NSA documents that showed the agency was collecting bulk communications data on almost every American.
But Rogers defended the NSA's record-keeping system, saying it adequately protects the information the agency collects.
"You're going to take away the safety of what is well overseen, locked away in a vault, very, very strict oversight as to who gets access to even check a foreign number coming into the United States" if a third party held the information, he said. "You have all the levels of oversight to make sure it's safe.
"If it goes to the private companies," Rogers said, "you're going to have a government-mandated scheme [with] no such oversight the way we have it at the federal government."