Gen. Keith Alexander, the former head of the spy agency, warned in an interview with The New Yorker of a ‘growing’ number of potential attacks on the U.S.
BY Adam Edelman
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Sunday, May 18, 2014, 5:39 PM
A former top U.S. security official fears the nation could be attacked again by terrorists.
Gen. Keith Alexander, who retired in March as director of the National Security Agency after eight years on the job, said the probability of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil is increasing.
“The number of attacks that are coming, the probability, it’s growing,” Alexander said in a New Yorker magazine interview published over the weekend. “What I saw at N.S.A. is that there is a lot more coming our way.”
“We’re at greater risk,” Alexander said. “Look at the way Al Qaeda networks. From Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, and now in Syria, the al-Nusra front.”
“Look at the number of jihadists going into Syria and what they want to do. When put all that together, you can say those are distant countries, but a lot of these groups are looking to attack the United States. I take that threat very seriously”, Alexander added, stressing the need to use controversial spying tactics to help combat terrorism.
Alexander claimed that such tactics — including the agency’s bulk-metadata collection program (which many lawmakers have claimed is unconstitutional) — have contributed to the disruption to at least 54 terrorist plots.
The program, along with another NSA strategy called “reasonable articulable suspicion,” may have even prevented the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Alexander said.
“We know we didn’t stop 9/11. People were trying, but they didn’t have the tools,” he said. “This tool, we believed, would help them.”