NSA Chief Defends Surveillance Programs

The head of the National Security Agency came out swinging Tuesday, saying today’s sweeping surveillance programs might have prevented the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as he and other officials emphasized that their intelligence-gathering programs are subject to broad oversight.

Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director, said the intelligence community, working in tandem with businesses, has “been able to connect the dots and prevent more terrorist attacks” using phone- and Internet-surveillance tools. “The events of Sept. 11, 2001, occurred in part because of a failure on the part of our government to connect those dots,” Gen. Alexander said.

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