If you were still no sure about which side to take over Edward Snowden, this might help you take one. The amount of damage he has caused and lives he put at risk is enormous.
The intelligence community isn’t used to explaining itself in public, but over the past few months, with much prodding by Congress and the press, it has taken some small, tentative steps. Last week, I spent an hour with General Keith B. Alexander, who retired in March after eight years as the director of the N.S.A. The forces pushing for omnivorous data collection are larger than any one person, but General Alexander’s role has been significant. We met on Wednesday morning, in the conference room of a public-relations firm in the Flatiron District. He is a tall man with a firm handshake and steady eyes who speaks rapidly and directly.
Here are excerpts from the interview.
In January, President Obama claimed that the N.S.A. bulk-metadata program has disrupted fifty-four terrorist plots. Senator Patrick Leahy said the real number is zero. There’s a big difference between fifty-four and zero. Continue reading