June 18, 2013 / 3:07 PM / 6 years ago

NSA chief: agency programs prevented over 50 potential terrorist acts

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. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Keith Alexander, the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, said on Tuesday that the NSA’s data gathering programs had prevented potential terrorist attacks more than 50 times since September 11, 2001.

“In recent years these programs, together with other intelligence, have protected the U.S. and our allies from terrorist threats across the globe to include helping prevent ... potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11,” he said in testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives intelligence committee.

Alexander said the intelligence agencies would give documents about those cases to the committee in a classified setting on Wednesday for its review and that he would discuss two thwarted plots during his testimony on Tuesday.

Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Tabassum Zakaria; editing by Jackie Frank

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