Back in June, shortly after the revelations of Edward Snowden that outed the National Security Agency on collecting millions of telephone and internet records from Americans, NSA Director and Army general Keith Alexander claimed that spying “thwarted dozens of attacks,” 54 to be exact. Now, a new revelation has come about, but not from Snowden.
Alexander came clean before a congressional committee this week and admitted that his claim to a Senate hearing in June that NSA spying prevented 54 terrorist plots. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) said during a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act oversight hearing that “the administration was pushing incomplete or inaccurate statements about the bulk collection of phone records from communication providers.”
“We’ve heard over and over again that 54 terrorist plots have been thwarted by the use of (this program),” said Leahy. “That’s plainly wrong. These weren’t all plots and they weren’t all thwarted.”
Sometime shortly after Alexander made the erroneous claim that the NSA spying program had been successful, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) saw suspicions in the NSA Director’s claim. The senators, both of whom are member of the Senate Select Committee of Intelligence, said in a statement that:
We have not yet seen any evidence showing that the NSA’s dragnet collection of Americans’ phone records has produced any uniquely valuable intelligence. Gen. Alexander’s testimony yesterday suggested that the NSA’s bulk phone records collection program helped thwart “dozens” of terrorist attacks, but all of the plots that he mentioned appear to have been identified using other collection methods.
Alexander further said that 13 out of 54 cases were related to the U.S. and that only “one or two” plots were implicated by the NSA’s mass surveillance.
“It [NSA mass surveillance] doesn’t have the credibility here in the Congress, it doesn’t have the credibility with this chairman and it doesn’t have the credibility with the country,” said Chairman Leahy.