NSA programs have saved lives: Obama
BERLIN / WASHINGTON
A TV screen shows the news of NSA leaker Edward Snowden in Hong Kong. AP PhotoPresident Barack Obama yesterday defended U.S. Internet and phone surveillance programs, a day after a U.S. spy chief announced secret surveillance has foiled more than 50 terror plots since 2001, including a planned bomb attack on the New York Stock Exchange.
“This is not a situation in which we are rifling through ordinary emails” of huge numbers of citizens in the U.S. or elsewhere, the president declared during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He called it as a “circumscribed, narrow” surveillance program. “Lives have been saved,” Obama said, adding that the program has been closely supervised by the courts to ensure that any encroachment of privacy is strictly limited.
Defending leaked programs, National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander described four thwarted plots, including a plan to bomb the New York subway he called “the first core al-Qaeda plot since 9/11, directed from Pakistan.” “In recent years, the information gathered from these programs provided the U.S. government with critical leads to help prevent over 50 potential terrorist events in more than 20 countries around the world,” Alexander said, adding that at least 10 threats were “homeland-based.” He added that most details were classified. But in an effort to win political support for the spy programs, details of four incidents, including the New York Stock Exchange plot, were released.
Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff.