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      NSA director continuing defense of surveillance program

      The headof the National Security Agency is telling Congress that the government'ssweeping surveillance programs have foiled some 50 terrorist plots around theworld.

      Army Gen.Keith Alexander tells the House Intelligence Committee that the two programsthat were recently disclosed are critical in the terrorism fight. One programgathers U.S. phone records, and the other is designed to track the use ofInternet servers in the United States by foreigners with possible links toterrorism.

      In arare, open Capitol Hill hearing, Alexander told lawmakers that the programshelp the intelligence community "connect the dots."

      Leadersof the panel from both parties joined him in defending the surveillance. Andthey said the actions of Edward Snowden in disclosing information about theprograms were criminal.

      RepublicanMike Rogers of Michigan said, "It is at times like these where our enemieswithin become almost as damaging as our enemies on the outside."

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