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Monday, December 16, 2013

NSA director: Metadata searches could have disrupted 9/11 attacks -- By Jamie Weinstein, The Daily Caller


While defending his agency’s power to collect and search the phone records of Americans, National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander said that if the NSA had the ability and authorization to do such blanket searches before September, 11 2001, the 9/11 terrorist attacks could have potentially been disrupted.

Alexander made the claim Sunday during an interview with John Miller on CBS’s “60 Minutes”:

Miller: Before 9/11, did we have this capability?
Alexander: We did not.
Miller: Is it a factor? Was it a factor?
Alexander: I believe it was.

Miller went on to explain Alexander’s point further. “What Gen. Alexander is talking about is that two of the 9/11 hijackers — Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi — were in touch with an al-Qaida safe house in Yemen,” he narrated. “The NSA did not know their calls were coming from California, as they would today.”

“I think this was the factor that allowed Mihdhar to safely conduct his plot from California,” Alexander added. “We had all the other indicators, but no way of understanding that he was in California while others were in Florida and other places.”

During the “60 Minutes” segment, a top official at the NSA also told Miller that the U.S. government should grant NSA leaker Edward Snowden amnesty if it would help secure the documents he pilfered.

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