WASHINGTON (AP) — ‘The director of the National Security Agency told Congress that information collected by once-secret U.S. surveillance programs disrupted dozens of terrorist attacks, while the young man who leaked documents to expose the programs declared while hiding in Hong Kong, “I am not here to hide from justice.”
‘The NSA director, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, was set to address the Senate Intelligence Committee in closed session on Thursday’.
“I do think it’s important that we get this right, and I want the American people to know that we’re trying to be transparent here, protect civil liberties and privacy but also the security of this country,” Alexander told a Senate panel’.
‘Half a world away, Edward Snowden, the former contractor who fled to Hong Kong and leaked details of the programs, said he would fight any U.S. attempts to extradite him but he’s not hiding from justice’.
“I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality such as accessing information I wasn’t cleared for and ignoring an oath of non-disclosure.” Snowden who at 29 years of age and after only 3 moths at the security contractor is now the World’s expert on security said in an interview with the local South China Morning Post’.
‘Alexander warned that revelations about the secret programs have eroded agency capabilities and, as a result, the U.S. and its allies won’t be as safe as they were two weeks ago’.
“Some of these are still going to be classified and should be, because if we tell the terrorists every way that we’re going to track them, they will get through and Americans will die,” he said’.
‘Members of the House and Senate Intelligence panels and key leaders have expressed their support for the operations as a valid tool in the terrorism fight. But rank-and-file lawmakers who haven’t been privy to the details expressed concerns and bewilderment’.
‘Sen. Mike Johanns asked the NSA director whether the government could check and see what an individual is searching for through Google, or sending in email’.
‘Alexander said once an individual has been identified, the issue is referred to the FBI’.
“The FBI will then look at that and say what more do we need to now look at that individual themselves. So there are issues and things that they would then look at. It’s passed to them,” Alexander said’.
“So the answer to the question is yes,” Johanns said’.
“Yes, you could. I mean, you can get a court order to do that,” Alexander said’.
Sen. Rand Paul said he plans on Thursday to announce “legal action against government surveillance and the National Security Agency’s overreach of power,” his political office said’.
‘Recent polling on the issue found Americans troubled by the intrusion but perhaps willing to give the government even more room in its efforts to fight terrorism’.
‘A new poll by CBS News and The New York Times found that 58 percent disapprove of the government collecting phone records of all Americans. Yet it also found that 59 percent think the government has struck the right balance or not gone far enough’.
From : http://www.necn.com/06/13/13/US-Secret-programs-disrupted-dozens-of-a/landing_nation.html?&apID=851af6ac38fa40328cb06a621e4ea4c0