NSA Chief: More Than 50 Terror Plots Stopped Through Spying Programs

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WASHINGTON, DC — The director of the National Security Agency said Tuesday that he will provide details of two previously classified cases in which secret surveillance programs thwarted terrorist plots.

Gen. Keith Alexander told the House Intelligence Committee that the plots were more than 50 that the programs helped prevent, and he would provide classified details of the others to the legislators.

Panel Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers welcomed his testimony on the benefits of the secret programs.

“I think you have struck the right balance between protecting sources and methods, and maintaining the public’s trust — by providing more examples of how these authorities have helped disrupt terrorist plots and connections,” Rogers, a Michigan Republican, said in his opening statement.

Last week, Alexander said the secret surveillance programs revealed in leaks of classified documents helped foil dozens of terror plots — but he offered no specific details.

At the urging of the leaders of congressional intelligence committees, he looked into declassifying information on some cases to provide a stronger public defense of the programs that critics have called government overreach.

There is a debate within the intelligence community about what can be revealed to prove the programs work, versus what should stay classified for fear of burning sources and methods.

President Barack Obama defended the secret programs in an interview with Charlie Rose broadcast Monday night, but he said the situation requires a national debate on the balance between security and privacy rights.

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