Sunday, June 16, 2013

NSA Surveillance Programs Helped Foil Terror Plots In 20 Countries, Officials Say offers a piece on the National Security Agency's surveillance programs:

U.S. intelligence officials released newly declassified information Saturday, stating the National Security Agency’s controversial programs gathering millions of phone and email records helped foil “dozens of potential terror plots.”

The three-page document regarding the NSA programs was released to congressional intelligence committees, and states the plots were thwarted in the U.S. and more than 20 other countries. The data is destroyed every five years, according to the document.

The officials also said the NSA checked just 300 phone numbers last year against its database of millions of U.S. phone records gathered daily, an attempt to argue the surveillance programs are less sweeping than alleged.

They also said they are working to declassify the dozens of plots NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander said were disrupted, to show Americans the value of the programs, but said they want to make sure they don't inadvertently reveal parts of the U.S. counterterrorism playbook in the process.

The programs were known to Washington lawmakers but unknown to the public until a series of new stories this month in The Guardian and The Washington Post newspapers, leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who remains in hiding in Hong Kong.

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