Udall to brass: Prove that surveillance stopped terrorism
Security officials should explain their claims about the effectiveness of controversial programs that were the subject of recent leaks, two U.S. senators said.
The head of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, should have to explain how the surveillance programs averted what he claimed were “dozens of terrorist attacks,” U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said.
Udall said in Grand Junction last week that there was “a lot of evidence” that more conventional techniques were as effective as the surveillance program that tracks all domestic phone calls and other forms of electronic communication.
Udall and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Wash., on Thursday called on Alexander to explain his comments.
“We have not yet seen any evidence showing that the NSA’s dragnet collection of Americans’ phone records has produced any uniquely valuable intelligence,” Udall and Wyden said in a statement.
The plots Alexander identified “appear to have been identified using other collection methods. The public deserves a clear explanation,” Udall and Wyden said.
Udall has called for a review of the Patriot Act, under which the program known as PRISM was justified.
“As far as we can see, all of the useful information that it has provided appears to have also been available through other collection methods that do not violate the privacy of law-abiding Americans in the way that the Patriot Act collection does,” the two senators said. “We hope that President Obama will probe the basis for these assertions, as we have.”