News / USA

NSA Chief: Surveillance Helped Stop 'Dozens' of Attacks

Gen. Keith B. Alexander, commander, U.S. Cyber Command and director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 12, 2013, before the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.
Gen. Keith B. Alexander, commander, U.S. Cyber Command and director, National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 12, 2013, before the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.
The head of the National Security Agency told a U.S. congressional panel on Wednesday that dozens of terrorist attacks have been prevented thanks to a recently revealed surveillance program that has raised concerns about privacy.

Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, appeared before a Senate panel looking into cybersecurity threats.
 
But a number of senators appeared more concerned about a secret surveillance program that has been mining Americans’ telephone and Internet data.
 
Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont asked the NSA chief how many attacks had been thwarted by data collected under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which was signed into law shortly after the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.
 
Alexander: It’s dozens of terrorist events that these have helped prevent.
Leahy: Ok, so dozens.  Now we collect millions of millions of millions of records through 215, but dozens of them have proved crucial, or critical, is that right?  Dozens?
Alexander: For both here and abroad, in disrupting or contributing to the disruption of terrorist attacks.”
Leahy: Out of those millions, dozens have been critical.”
Alexander: That’s correct.
 
The questioning came after details of the program were leaked by a government contractor.
 
Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois pointed out that the contractor, Edward Snowden, was a 29-year-old high school dropout who had worked as a security guard at the NSA.  Durbin said he wanted to look at that resume.

“And ask you if you’re troubled that he was given that kind of opportunity to be so close to important information that was critical to the security of our nation,” Durbin said.

“I do have concerns about that, over the process, Senator.  I have great concerns over that, the access that he had, Alexander said.
 
Alexander, who also heads the U.S. Cyber Command, promised to declassify some information in the coming days to show that the surveillance programs are working lawfully and in the national interest.
 
“This is not us doing something under the covers, this is what we’re doing on behalf of all of us, for the good of this country.  Now, what we need to do, I think, is to bring as many facts as we can out to the American people," Alexander said.
 
Several lawmakers said that U.S. intelligence agencies are engaged in a cyber war and need, as one of them put it, “a little space.”

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sammy
June 13, 2013 12:26 PM
Please Mr Alexander you dont have to justify or prove anything.
Playing your cards in public is not a "smart". Dont go down this road, it is not necessary. France and Israel dont explain security operations and neither should the USA.

In Response

by: li baba from: new york
June 13, 2013 9:22 PM
what you are going to say. terrorism are well organize and well paid by gulf countries and us have to stop them. . we are not talking about pretext. it is a fact


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
June 13, 2013 7:21 AM
The surveillance is a national necessity, so no one should see it a hacking into their personal secrets. America has been known to be a free country and those in want of elaborate secrecy should look for somewhere else. If the security operatives must do their world and do well, they should be allowed the free hand to carry it out to the satisfaction of all and especially so that the country is secure. If they had done it this way in the past, 9/11 would not have happened.


by: ali baba from: new york
June 12, 2013 10:23 PM
surveillance program is a good method to prevent terror attack and it has to continue to save lives. we are dealing with invisible enemy that has higher skill to hide himself and the enemy which is very vicious and full of hatred .we have to use any means necessary to defend the nation and keep the country safe we should not listen .civil liberties .if we listen to them ,we shall see the bodies of innocent people on the street

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid