Policy: National Security

NSA director briefs congress on latest spy program

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Beltway Confidential,Congress,National Security,NSA,Ashe Schow,Edward Snowden

Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, traveled to Capitol Hill Thursday for a classified briefing to members of Congress on the NSA's Xkeyscore program, which was revealed Wednesday by the Guardian.

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., said he planned to ask Alexander where the content collected by XKeyscore is coming from and how the federal government obtains it.

XKeyscore, according to reports provided to the Guardian by Edward Snowden, is the "widest-reaching" system for collecting e-mails, social media activity and Internet histories from millions of individual. Training materials on the program claimed it covered "nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet." The Guardian claims that the information is collected by analysts using a simple request form that is not reviewed by any court or the NSA.

The NSA, however, denies the program is as wide reaching as the Guardian claims. "Allegations of widespread, unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data are simply not true," the agency said in a statement to Fox News.

Alexander's quick response to news of XKeyscore shows how intently the agency is trying to stop bad news from spreading.

As Alexander briefs members on the XKeyscore program, President Obama will meet with a bipartisan group of lawmakers concerned about the NSA surveillance program.

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