David B. Grinberg

Gen. Keith Alexander, chief of both the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command, testified today at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. Here’s some of what he said about terrorist plots foiled with the help of surrveilance techniques currently considered questionable, according to the Washington Post:

Alexander: Phone record provision helped thwart ‘dozens’ of terror events

  • The Patriot Act provision that allowed the NSA to collect phone records has helped thwart “dozens” of terror events, Alexander said.
  • In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Alexander cited the cases of Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan American who guilty to planning suicide attacks in New York, and Pakistani American David Headley, who conducted surveillance in support of the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India that killed more than 160 people.
  • In both instances, he said, the NSA program helped unravel the plot.
  • He said it was his intent that records showing the secret surveillance program was critical to disrupting dozens of such plots will be made public within a week.
  • The order that allowed for the NSA collection of phone records of millions of Americans was based on Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows law enforcement to obtain a wide variety of “business records,” including calling records.