WASHINGTON — Bomb plots targeting the New York Stock Exchange and the city’s subway were among more than 50 worldwide thwarted by top-secret surveillance programs since the 2011 al Qaeda attacks on the United States, authorities said on Tuesday.
Gen. Keith Alexander, National Security Agency director, FBI and other officials revealed startling details at a House Intelligence Committee hearing aimed at finding out more about the telephone and e-mail surveillance initiatives that came to light this month through leaks of classified information to newspapers.
It was the most comprehensive and specific defense of those methods that have come under ferocious criticism from civil liberties groups, some members of Congress and others concerned about the reach of government into the private lives of citizens in the interest of national security.
National security and law enforcement officials asserted that the leaks were egregious and carry huge consequences for national security.
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