NSA Claims Spying Warranted, Cites 50 Thwarted Terror Attempts


In full-on damage-control mode, the head of the National Security Agency claimed that more than 50 potential terrorist plots throughout the world were thwarted because his agency has the ability to collect communication information through the program recently exposed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander answered questions on Capitol Hill Tuesday alongside top dogs from the FBI and the National Director Of Intelligence’s office. Alexander promised last week to present a public list of the dozens of terror attacks NSA alleges it stopped at the hearing, but told lawmakers on the Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence that the agency was still working on the document and would have it no sooner than Wednesday.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said that lawmakers want NSA officials to provide Americans with more information about the now public spy programs.

“General Alexander, you and I have talked over the past week about the need to be able to publicly elaborate on the success stories these authorities have contributed to without jeopardizing ongoing operations,” he said, according to prepared remarks. “I place the utmost value in protecting sources and methods, but I also recognize that when we are forced into the position of having to publicly discuss intelligence programs due to irresponsible, criminal behavior that we also have to carefully balance the need for secrecy with educating the public.”

Alexander spent much of the hearing saying that American citizens should not be concerned by the information leaked by Snowden, asserting that the conversation surrounding the data-collection efforts are rife with misinformation and half-truths. Furthermore, according to the official, there is concrete evidence the program is making Americans safer.

“As Americans, we value our privacy and our civil liberties,” Alexander said. “As Americans, we also value our security and our safety. In the 12 years since the attacks on Sept. 11, we have lived in relative safety and security as a nation. That security is a direct result of the intelligence community’s quiet efforts to better connect the dots and learn from the mistakes that permitted those attacks to occur in 9/11.”

The detailed list of terror plots set to be released today will add to declassified government documents NSA pointed to as examples of terror plots that were shut down via data-collection efforts. The examples involved a planned attack on New York City’s subway system and a plot to bomb a Danish newspaper over cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

The intelligence official told lawmakers that the NSA was unwilling to release a complete list of thwarted attacks because it would endanger the United States and its allies.

Some NSA critics have pointed out that proof of the Constitutionally questionable data-collection effort’s effectiveness will likely not be made evident by a list of alleged successes in stopping terror. The argument is not a faulty one; it has been demonstrated in the past that government agencies are fond of creating, then stopping, terror plots and using the publicity to justify civil liberties restrictions.

Author David Shipler pointed out in the pages of The New York Times in April 2012 that 14 of 22 major terror attempts on U.S. soil since 9/11 were nurtured by the government.

From the piece:

The United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts.

But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested.

Stay tuned for analysis of the information included on the NSA’s forthcoming list.

Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

  • independent thinker

    The feds claim they do not listen to phone conversations or read emails yet they say they have enough information to stop 50+ terror attempts. Something does not compute. Either they routinely listen to/read our conversations or they are lying about the 50 attempts. There is a third option that being they listen to/read our conversations and they are lying. I suspect that is the most accurate choice.

    • Darral

      Lets just do a basic fact check here The NSA was started under ford primarily to evaluate Russian communications as we were in a cold war with Russia at the time, Carter expanded it to include other countries, The cold war ended under Reagan and the NSA went dormant oh we still had it, After 9/11 Bush Revised it to find and locate terrorists, Obama expanded it to include all Americans and yes find terrorists is what they are supposed to do and it is possible that they located 50 terrorists in what How many years 12
      But documenting , recording every phone call every e -mail of American citizens is not looking for terrorists It is compiling information on American citizens. Hitler did it Stalin did it North Korea does it Cuba does it,
      And the Democratic party does it 2 plus 2 equal WHY ?

      • ChuckS123

        Wrong. I learned about the NSA in 1966, so it preceded Ford by at least 7 years.

        • Darral

          I can not locate any evidence to support your claim

          • ChuckS123

            Wikipedia says it was formed in 1952, which would be Truman. Preceded by the Armed Forces Security Agency. in 1949. I was in the Army in 1966 and attended an army class, which included a session on the NSA.


  • laura91

    the cia, fbi and ignorant white house love bragging about their so called accomplishments, even if they are lies. So why were there 50 terrorist threats thwarted and we never heard of them, even the lamestream media like to brag about obamanation. I will tell you why, it is because these nutcases do not see themselves or the muslim brotherhood as the terrorist, instead it is us Americans who disagree with, oppose and expose them on their own tyranny. that labels us the terrorist and gets americans killed or locked up for whistle-blowing or butting heads against them. I also believe them when they say they thwarted 50 attacks because there have been at least 50 Americans killed and or locked up. hmmm, coincidence, I don’t think so. Just check out obamanations kill list and see if you can recognize the names on the list, I bet you will and that makes obamanation and the white house thugs and the cia all murderers and cowards and liars and hold their true allegiance to the muslim brotherhood. they must all be outed from Washington and tried for crimes against humanity and treason against the United States of America.

  • Michael Shreve

    Billions of communication and Millions of VIOLATED citizens for “fifty”successes. Instead of a shotgun try a rifle, you MIGHT actually hit the target. You can’t make this stuff up, BUT they probably did.

    • vicki

      What that tells us is 50 stops and 2 misses (Boston and Ft Hood). The threat of terrorism seems way out of proportion to the amount of money spent and the loss of critical Constitutionally protected rights.

      How much was spent btw?

  • tns

    Full reports declassified on each prevented “attack” or it never happened NSA

  • vicki

    Isn’t it amazing that we are just now hearing about these 50 success stories?