Continued from page 1

He contrasted Mr. Snowden’s activities with remarks from National Intelligence Director James R. Clapper, who told Congress in March that the government does not collect information on millions of Americans — at least not wittingly.

“Mr. Clapper lied in Congress, in defiance of the law, in the name of security. Mr. Snowden told the truth in the name of privacy,” Mr. Paul said.

Chiefs of U.S. security agencies, even as they lambaste Mr. Snowden as a traitor, have sought to allay fears that the government has carte-blanche power to snoop on Americans’ phone calls and Internet activity.

“We take protecting our civil liberties and privacy as one of our key foundational values,” Gen. Alexander told ABC.

He said the intelligence community failed to connect the dots ahead of the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11, 2011, so the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was crafted to give security agencies the tools it needed to make sure it didn’t happen again. He also said there is no evidence that intelligence personnel have ever attempted to circumvent controls within the law so they could snoop on communications.

He said he can point to “more than 50 cases” in which the spying programs helped the agency thwart potential attacks.