NSA director defends spying efforts
Iran Press TV
Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:42PM GMT
US National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith B. Alexander has once again defended agency's surveillance programs, saying he sees no effective alternative to the bulk collection of telephone and other electronic metadata from Americans.
American whistleblower Edward Snowden first revealed in June that the NSA has two secret programs, which collect records about personal communications in the name of national security.
General Alexander, who's the public face of the programs now, has urged US intelligence officials to explain more to the public about the NSA's role as controversy grows over disclosures of the secret missions.
"Given where we are and all the issues that are on the table, I do feel it's important to have a public, transparent discussion on cyber so that the American people know what's going on," General Alexander said, as quoted by the New York Times. "And in order to have that, they need to understand the truth about what's going on."
The general, who is expected to retire as early as next year, has given a number of speeches in recent weeks to counter a highly negative portrayal of the agency's spying efforts.
He insists that the main problem is a public misunderstanding about the programs. "We, and that includes the press, have not informed the American people in such a way that they can make a right decision here," he said.
But he acknowledged that the programs are now facing the possibility of Congressional restrictions, after revelations about its operations at home and abroad, the Times said.
Head of the Senate Judiciary Committee Senator Patrick J. Leahy, has already drafted legislation to eliminate the NSA's ability to systematically obtain Americans' calling records.
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner is also drafting a bill that would significantly cut back on domestic surveillance programs, according to the newspaper.
Snowden, who leaked the scandal, is now in Russia where he has been granted temporary asylum. He is wanted in the US for espionage charges.
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