Director testifies that surveillance prevented dozens of “potentially catastrophic” threats to NSA budget

20 Jun

WASHINGTON–testifying today before Congress, NSA Director Keith Alexander testified that without the Prism electronic eavesdropping program, the country could have seen “catastrophic” reductions in unaccountable intelligence spending.

“If not for Prism, we could very well be looking at a series of downsizings and potentially even senior-management pay cuts that would make the 1990s look like a walk in the park,” said Alexander. “I’d rather be debating privacy issues today than explaining to my wife what happened to our second driver.”

House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R–Michigan) asked whether perhaps the NSA had gone slightly too far. Alexander started to answer with a hypothetical, noting that “if you had, say, a prominent citizen who occasionally visited, you might think–“. He was unable to finish, as Rogers quickly withdrew the question.

Alexander also had good news for civil libertarians who had questioned the program’s constitutionality, citing a secret Obama administration legal finding that the government can do anything it wants.

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