NSA director defends surveillance program

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Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - The head of the National Security Agency is telling Congress that the government's sweeping surveillance programs have foiled some 50 terrorist plots around the world.
    
Army Gen. Keith Alexander tells the House Intelligence Committee that the two programs that were recently disclosed are critical in the terrorism fight. One program gathers U.S. phone records, and the other is designed to track the use of Internet servers in the United States by foreigners with possible links to terrorism.
    
In a rare, open Capitol Hill hearing, Alexander told lawmakers that the programs help the intelligence community "connect the dots."
    
Leaders of the panel from both parties joined him in defending the surveillance. And they said the actions of Edward Snowden in disclosing information about the programs were criminal.
    
Republican Mike Rogers of Michigan said, "It is at times like these where our enemies within become almost as damaging as our enemies on the outside."

Earlier story:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee says it appears the much-criticized national electronic surveillance program foiled "dozens" of terrorist plots.
   
Michigan Republican Rep. Mike Rogers, who will preside over an open hearing of the intelligence panel later Tuesday, says he expects the head of the NSA, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, to declassify additional information about the program. The Obama administration already has declassified data crediting the NSA program with breaking up a planned attack on New York City's subway system.
   
Rogers tells NBC's "Today" show that lawmakers "know there are dozens" of terrorist plots thwarted by the NSA program. And he says Congress also wants to learn much more about how NSA contract employee Edward Snowden, who publicly revealed information about the program, got access to such highly sensitive data.

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