News / USA

NSA Chief: More Than 50 Potential Terrorist Acts Prevented

/From left: NSA Director Gen. Keith B. Alexander; Deputy FBI Director Sean Joyce, and Robert Litt, general counsel to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), arrive to testify before a House Intelligence Committee hearing regarding NSA surveillance, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, June 18, 2013.
/From left: NSA Director Gen. Keith B. Alexander; Deputy FBI Director Sean Joyce, and Robert Litt, general counsel to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), arrive to testify before a House Intelligence Committee hearing regarding NSA surveillance, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, June 18, 2013.
Cindy Saine
— Top National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials say newly revealed surveillance programs have helped to stop more than 50 terrorist attacks in 20 countries around the world.  The officials delivered a strong defense of the exposed surveillance programs to the House Select Committee on Intelligence, saying they are essential to national security and have not violated any laws or Americans' privacy rights.

FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce outlined four terrorist plots that he said were foiled with the help of the top secret surveillance programs. Joyce said the NSA discovered one of the plots while monitoring a known extremist in Yemen who was in contact with an operative in Kansas City, Missouri.

"We found through electronic surveillance that they were actually in the initial stages of plotting to bomb the New York Stock Exchange,"Joyce said.

Joyce said those involved in the plot were arrested and later convicted.  Joyce also said an NSA intercept of an e-mail from a terrorist in Pakistan in 2009 led authorities to Najibullah Zazi, who later pleaded guilty to a plot to bomb New York City's subway system.  

Joyce said the program also linked an American citizen, David Headley, in Chicago to the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India and to a plot to bomb the offices of a Danish newspaper that published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.  Joyce said the FBI would release details of more than 50 thwarted plots to the House and Senate intelligence committees in a classified setting, but not in an open hearing because of security concerns.

NSA chief Keith Alexander told the congressional panel U.S. intelligence officials were criticized after the September 11, 2001 attacks for "not connecting the dots" on pieces of information, and he said the surveillance programs are providing those dots.  Alexander sought to answer concerns about privacy, saying the surveillance programs are limited and properly supervised throughout the process.

"Let me start by saying that I would much rather be here today debating this point than trying to explain how we failed to prevent another 9/11," Alexander said.

The intelligence officials stressed that no phone calls can be monitored without a court order.  But some lawmakers expressed concern about the collection of ordinary Americans' phone records.  Democratic Congressman James Himes said the recent disclosures by NSA contractor Edward Snowden still trouble him.

"They trouble me because of the breadth and the scope of the information collection.  They trouble me because I think this is historically unprecedented in the extent of the data that is being collected on potentially all American citizens," Himes said.

Another congressman, Democrat Adam Schiff, suggested that perhaps changes could be made to the Patriot Act provisions, so that telecommunications companies could collect and store Americans' phone records instead of the government, and the government could ask for access to a specific individual's records only when there are substantial suspicions of a terrorist connection.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid