What else do we expect them to say? "Uhhhh, yeah. Well, we spent all this time spying on Americans and well ... we got nuthin'."1. Surveillance has contributed to thwarting more than 50 terror plots since 9/11, according to the NSA.
NSA Director Keith Alexander testified that NSA surveillance has played a role in preventing more than 50 terrorist attacks since September 11, 2001. FBI deputy director Sean Joyce provided an outline of four of those cases:
2. The NSA doesn't need court approval each time it searches Americans' phone records.
3. 10 NSA officials have permission to give information about US citizens to the FBI
There are 10 NSA officials—including Inglis and Alexander—involved in determining whether information collected about US citizens can be provided to the FBI. It can only be shared if there's independent evidence that the target has connections to a terrorist organization. Inglis said that if the information is found to be irrelevant, it must be destroyed. If the NSA mistakenly targets an American citizen, it must report this to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
4. Other countries are less transparent than the US, officials say.
Cole said that the FISA Amendments Act provides more due process than is afforded to citizens of European countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom, and France. Alexander added that "virtually all" countries have laws that compel telecommunications firms to turn over information on suspects.
5) Fewer than 300 phone numbers were targeted in 2012.
NSA officials say that even though the agency has access to Americans' phone records, it investigated fewer than 300 phone numbers connected to US citizens in 2012. The officials did not provide any detail on the number of email addresses targeted.
Nevertheless, somehow the Boston bombers, the underwear bomber, Maj. Nidal, and the Time's Square bomber all stayed off their radar?