US cyber spying foiled terrorist plots in 20 countries, including India
Washington: The controversial secret cyber spying programme run by America's National Security Agency (NSA) foiled more than 50 potential terrorist plots in as many as 20 countries, including India.
"The plot included a previously undisclosed plan to blow up the New York Stock Exchange," according to the testimony of NSA chief General Keith Alexander before the House Intelligence Committee.
Alexander, however, did provide further details of the terrorist plot "disrupted" or the name of the countries, arguing that it is classified information.
"It's over 50 cases. The reason I'm not giving you a specific number is we want the rest of the community to actually beat those up and make sure that everything we have there is exactly right. I'd give you the number 50-X, but if somebody says, well, not this one.
"Actually, what we're finding out is there's more. They said you missed these three or four. So those are being added to the packet," Alexander told lawmakers in response to a question.
Informed sources, however, told a news agency that India was among those 20 countries and the time frame of at least one such India-related plot indicate it was around the successful Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.
Alexander cautioned against revealing these terrorist plots.
"The issue on terms of releasing more on the specific overseas cases is that -- it's our concern that in some of those, now, going into further details of exactly what we did and how we did it, may prevent us from disrupting a future plot.
"So that's something that's work in progress. Our intent is to get that to the committee tomorrow both intel committees, for the Senate and the House," he said.
"If we give all those out, we give all the secrets of how we're tracking down the terrorists as a community, and we can't do that. Too much is at risk for us and for our allies. I'll go into greater detail as we go through this testimony this morning," he said.
Alexander said these programmes are critical to the intelligence community's ability to protect the US and its allies.
They assist the intelligence community efforts to connect the dots, he added.
"These programs are limited, focused and subject to rigorous oversight. They have distinct purposes and oversight mechanisms. We have rigorous training programmes for our analysts and their supervisors to understand their responsibilities regarding compliance," Alexander said.
"The disciplined operation of these programmes protects the privacy and civil liberties of the American people," the NSA chief.