Washington: The National Security Agency (NSA) chief Gen. Keith B. Alexander has reportedly admitted that his spy agency tried to test whether they could locate Americans` phone location, apart from snooping on their web and phone data.
Alexander said that the agency did try once in 2010 and 2011, to track Americans` cellphone locations, but added that the NSA does not use that capability and left it to the FBI to build a criminal or foreign intelligence case against a suspect and track him.
According to the Fox News, Alexander said that the ability may be a future requirement for the country and is not to be used right now because when the agency identifies a number, it gives it to the FBI.
He further said that if the NSA requires tracking a suspect in this manner, it would first seek approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).
Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told lawmakers that the government shutdown that began Tuesday is seriously damaging the intelligence community`s ability to guard against threats.
The report added them saying that the agency is keeping counterterrorism staff at work as well as those providing intelligence to troops in Afghanistan, but that some 70 percent of the civilian workforce has been furloughed.