By Andrew Rafferty, Staff Writer
The expansive government surveillance programs made public last week have helped prevent “dozens” of terrorist attacks, National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander told a Senate committee Wednesday.
It is unclear, however, what specific surveillance practices helped thwart the alleged plots.
And Alexander, an Army general, was quick to clarify that in most cases multiple programs have successfully been used together to stop attacks both in the United States and abroad.
“When I say ‘dozens,’ what I’m talking about here is that these authorities complement each other in helping us identify different terrorist actions and help disrupt them,” Alexander said. “They complement each other.”
The NSA hopes to publicly release the exact number of foiled attack within the next week, he said.
Alexander’s comments came during a previously scheduled cybersecurity hearing, but marked his first appearance before lawmakers since media reports that unveiled sweeping NSA surveillance of electronic communications that has sparked a debate over the balance between personal liberties and national security.