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What Next For Snowden? ‘Justice’ Says NSA Director Keith Alexander; What Does He Mean?

By Gopi Chandra Kharel on June 19, 2013 2:12 AM EDT 0

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Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) U.S. Army General Keith Alexander testifies before a U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on recently disclosed NSA surveillance programs, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington June 18, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

During a rare hearing of the House intelligence committee in Washington, General Keith Alexander, the National Security Agency (NSA) director was asked what was next for the whistle-blower Edward Snowden, to which he answered with a single word: "justice".

The comment came while he defended the secret program of NSA's mass surveillance called PRISM that was leaked by Snowden, an event that spiraled into an international debate about intelligence communities' secret surveillance and how that lead to infringement of civil liberties. Snowden has since, gained a worldwide fame and recognition with many Americans hailing him as a "hero".

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Meanwhile, General Alexander said that the program that was leaked by Snowden had foiled more than 50 terrorist plots around the world adding that the programs were "critical" for intelligence community's ability to protect the United States.

Strongly defending the collection of telephone and Internet data by the National Security agency as important for the protection of the United States, the senior government officials present in the hearing said that the recent disclosures of the secret surveillance operations have caused grave damage to the country's security.

Internet intelligence officials had once identified a man from Kensas city communicating with an extremist in Yemen and had foiled a plan to bomb the Wall Street Stock exchange, Sean Joyce, deputy director of the Federal bureau of Investigation said setting the event as an example how the surveillance had helped counter terrorist activities. In another example, it was revealed that the phone records program had thwarted a San Diego man from providing financial support to a terrorist group in Somalia, the Detroit News has reported.

The meeting that took place Tuesday where senior officials from the FBI, Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence were present, Alexander said that most of the successfully foiled terrorism activities came from the NSA's monitoring of foreigner's internet communications under the program called Prism adding that the secret surveillance programs were "limited, focused and subject to rigorous oversight". He conceded, however, that only 10 out of more than 50 terrorist attacks foiled so far were related to domestic terror plots. 

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