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NSA director says surveillance programs disrupted dozens of terrorist attacks

The director of the National Security Agency is making a forceful defense of spy operations that have stirred fears of government snooping and violations of privacy rights.

Army Gen. Keith Alexander tells a Senate committee that once-secret surveillance programs have been crucial in enabling the U.S. government to thwart dozens of terrorist attacks.

In his testimony Wednesday, Alexander offered few details about how the programs have foiled terrorists.

Alexander says that he is pressing for the intelligence community to provide details on such plots so that Americans know that the NSA is protecting civil liberties and privacy as well as national security.

Alexander warns that, because of the revelations about the secret programs, the U.S. and its allies aren't as safe as they were two weeks ago.