Let us spy: NSA chief pleads with Senate to keep surveillance programs — RT USA

Keith Alexander, the four-star general manning the helm of both the NSA and US Cyber Command, admitted during an afternoon hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the American intelligence community is unsure of how to effectively monitor potential terror threats without the tools provided to them under the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.Top-secret NSA documents leaked to the media by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden throughout 2013 have raised numerous questions about the agency’s tools and techniques and their subsequent impact on the privacy of Americans. Despite growing opposition, however, Gen. Alexander defended those practices and said that abandoning them in lieu of yet-to-be-determined alternatives could gravely damage the national security of the country.Under Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of FISA, the NSA is allowed to collect records pertaining to Americans’ phone calls and the internet habits of suspected foreign targets, respectively. Critics of these programs have called the NSA’s powers to be overbroad, however, and equated the FISA Court that signs-off on such surveillance as being all too trigger happy with rubber stamp approvals.Speaking amid a continuing stream of similarly damaging Snowden leaks, Gen. Alexander and cohorts at the top of the US intelligence community said to the Senate committee this week that there are no viable alternatives at this time for the NSA to consider.“I can’t think of a better way,” Alexander said during the roughly 90-minute hearing on Wednesday.“It’s like holding onto a hornets nest,” he continued. “We’re getting stung,” he said, but “…nobody’s come up with a better way.”“If we let this down, I think we’ll let the nation down. So that’s why I’m concerned,” Alexander said.

via Let us spy: NSA chief pleads with Senate to keep surveillance programs — RT USA.

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