By Hadas Gold
Americans should be thankful for the National Security Agency surveillance program because it has saved "so many lives," Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Thursday.
"We should thank God every day this is in effect because it's saved so many lives, especially in New York," King said on Fox News.
Calling the program "absolutely essential," King said "hundreds, maybe thousands of New Yorkers would've been incinerated in the subway system" if the NSA program did not help catch Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan-American who was arrested in 2009 for being part of a plot to bomb the New York City subway.
When pressed by host Martha MacCallum as to why the program did not monitor the Boston Marathon bombers after Russian authorities flagged Tamerlan Tsarnaev, King said the brothers had no foreign terrorist connection so the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would have rejected the case.
"Maybe you're saying there should be more surveillance, maybe there should be," King said.
MacCallum said it's "disturbing" that a court would've rejected monitoring the brothers "because that would've been helpful."
"I think it proves the system is not efficient, that we're gathering so much information, we're not focusing on the right things," she added.
King shot back, saying MacCallum was "grasping at straws."
"What you're saying really proves how much the American citizens are being protected, sometimes at the risk of their own safety," King said. "You're saying because we didn't catch this one because the protections in place mainly what you're saying is we should have less protections and that's a different story."