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Senator vows fierce defence of NSA data collection, surveillance programs

Grant Gross | Oct. 3, 2013
The NSA's telephone records collection program is necessary to keep the U.S. safe from terrorism, some lawmakers say.

Clapper was prepared to read a statement about a secret NSA pilot program in 2010 and 2011 that would have allowed the agency to collect bulk data about U.S. mobile phone locations, according to a story in The New York Times. But senators didn't ask Clapper about the program, and he didn't volunteer the information during the hearing.

Alexander told the Senate Intelligence Committee last week that the NSA had no plans to collect mobile-phone location information, but he also didn't talk about the pilot program at that hearing.

Alexander also disputed a recent report in The New York Times saying the NSA is tracking social networks to build graphs of the social connections of U.S. residents. The NSA does track social networks to gather information on foreign terrorism suspects, but the report that the NSA was doing the same thing with U.S. residents' social-network data was "flat-out wrong," he said.


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