Gen. Alexander said the disclosures so far have caused national security damage by undermining spying efforts against terrorists and affecting partnerships with allies.
The disclosures by Mr. Snowden highlight a key vulnerability of what intelligence and security officials call the “insider threat,” the compromise of secrets through a trusted employee.
Mr. Snowden, in public interviews, said he disclosed the secret programs — along with the first disclosure of a document from a secret federal wiretapping court — to protest what he said were civil liberties abuses.
Gen. Alexander and other Obama administration security officials deny any improper electronic spying. The gathering of phone records on about 150 million Americans is limited to “metadata” — phone numbers and the duration of phone calls — but does not include recorded content of phone calls, Gen. Alexander said. The program is said to be limited solely to terrorism-related cases.
The general’s statement contradicted remarks to the Senate in March by James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, who denied the NSA was gathering any data on Americans’ phone calls.
Al Qaeda’s Lone Jihadists
The official al Qaeda’s English-language magazine is praising the terrorist bombings at the Boston Marathon as a model for “lone jihad” and future attacks against Americans.
The spring edition of Inspire, published June 1, says that the “blessed Boston bombings have been an absolute success on all levels and domains.”
“These heroic bombings have exposed many hidden shortcomings of the American security and intelligence system,” the magazine said. “They have also proved that the legendary acclaimed power of the enemy’s intelligence is nothing but a big lie indeed.”
The report said that the two suspects in the bombing, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, are the real winners of the race.
The magazine urged other Muslims to follow the examples of the brothers in targeting cities like Boston that have less security than places like New York and repeat the bombers’ decision to strike a major sporting event that also fell on Tax Day, April 15.
The bombers used “excellent” terrorism trade craft by placing the bombs on the marathon home stretch and timing the two homemade, pressure-cooker bomb blasts seconds apart to “increase casualties.”
“All this means the Tsarnaev brothers planned smartly to strike at a crowded time to guarantee maximum killing and injuring,” the al Qaeda magazine said. “This timing is significant in Lone Jihad operations.”
A separate article praised the terrorist killing of a British soldier in the Woolwich section of London on May 26.
U.S. warns China