Washington: The White House has listed arrest of David Coleman Headley, the 26/11 convict, and Afghan-American Najibullah Zazi, and thwarting their terror attack plots, as "success stories" of the secretive cyber spying plan of the United States to keep a watch on the foreign terrorists.
As such the White House maintained its support for such a program arguing that this has busted several terrorist plots, not only in the United States but also other parts of the world.
"The US intelligence community, including the FBI and NSA (National Security Agency), worked in concert to determine his relationship with al Qaeda, as well as identify any foreign or domestic terrorist links," the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney told reporters on Thursday.
"The FBI tracked Zazi as he traveled to New York to meet up with co-conspirators where they were planning to conduct a terrorist attack. Zazi and his co-conspirators were subsequently arrested, and Zazi, upon indictment, pled guilty to conspiring to bomb the New York City subway system," he said.
This plot at the time was characterised as "the most serious terrorist threat on US soil since 9/11", Carney said.
"The government and the NSA and the FBI and all of the agencies working together were able to thwart that attack because of the tools available to them, authorized by Congress, overseen by federal judges and by Congress, as well as internally by the executive branch," he said.
"A second plot in Chicago in October of 2009: David Coleman Headley, a Chicago business man and dual US-Pakistani citizen, was arrested by the FBI as he tried to depart from Chicago O’Hare Airport on a trip to Europe," Carney said.
"Headley was charged with support of terrorism based on his involvement in the planning and reconnaissance of the hotel attack in Mumbai of 2008. And at the time of his arrest, Headley and his colleagues were planning to attack the Danish newspaper that published the unflattering cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed at the behest of al Qaeda," the White House official said.
These programs, he argued, are in the national security interests. "And so there was an effort undertaken to declassify these instances to demonstrate to the American people that there are concrete results from these programs," he said.
Carney said that under Section 702, as well as the business records provision of FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), the FBI and other authorities were able to investigate Headley`s overseas associates and their involvement in Headley`s activities.
"So these were two specific instances where these programs, authorised by Congress, overseen by Congress and federal judges, overseen with internal check and balances within the executive branch, were found to be directly effective in thwarting terrorist attacks. These programs have over time contributed to the thwarting of dozens of attacks," Carney said.
"He (the US President) made very clear his views both on the need to debate this issue, but on the fact that we have a system in place that contrasts with the system that existed prior to Congress taking action in I think 2006, 2007, 2008, to ensure that there was the proper oversight by Congress and by the federal judiciary," he said.