Senator, NSA clash over number of thwarted plots

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Obama administration are clashing over how many terrorist plots might have been thwarted through the secret collection of Americans’ phone records since 2006.

In a committee hearing Wednesday, Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, disputed comments by the head of the National Security Agency, General Keith Alexander, who has said the phone and internet surveillance disrupted 54 schemes by militants. Leahy said a list of the relevant plots provided to Congress does not reflect dozens or, as he said, “let alone 54 as some have suggested.”

The NSA’s deputy director, John Inglis, said the phone surveillance contributed to disrupting or discovering attacks 12 times. Inglis said the 54 involved both the phone records program and a separate initiative gathering Internet data.

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