NSA director to Jimmy Carter: Agency not spying on your emails
Published March 25, 2014
The outgoing director of the National Security Agency wants former President Jimmy Carter to know: It's safe to use email.
Gen. Keith Alexander, in an exclusive interview with Fox News' Bret Baier, addressed concerns raised by the former president, who on Sunday said he uses snail mail to communicate with foreign leaders for fear his emails are being monitored.
"We're not [monitoring the emails]," Alexander said. "So he can now go back to writing emails. The reality is, we don't do that. And if we did, it would be illegal and we'd be ... held accountable and responsible."
Alexander noted that the president's review group, lawmakers and several government agencies have reviewed the NSA's practices, and "no one has found anything, zero, except for in 12 cases where people did that and we had already reported those."
Alexander is leaving the agency as Obama moves to overhaul the NSA in the wake of last year's revelations about the agency's surveillance methods -- leaked to news outlets by former contractor Edward Snowden. The president is planning to ask Congress to move legislation to end the NSA's controversial practice of holding vast amounts of phone records for years.
Alexander, in the interview with Fox News, stressed that "we don't have Americans' emails or their content of their phone calls in that database."
"It's just numbers. It's just the call detail records," he said. "Think of this in the old phone bills that you used to get that would list all the numbers that you called. Take off your name off the top, put the two phone numbers, put those in a database, that's what we have. That's it."