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NSA director refutes domestic surveillance allegations in Congressional budget hearing

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After a Wired article raised allegations of a new NSA surveillance center, Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson questioned the director of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, about the agency's ability to monitor and collect information on US citizens.

NSA director General Keith Alexander
NSA director General Keith Alexander

In its cover story last week, Wired reported that the National Security Agency is building a data collection center in Utah that will store and help decrypt massive amounts of both international and domestic surveillance information that the agency has been collecting since 2001. Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson cited the piece during a budget hearing yesterday, querying NSA director General Keith Alexander directly about several of the surveillance capabilities mentioned. When asked if the NSA was monitoring the emails, phone calls, and other electronic transmissions of US citizens, Alexander denied that the NSA participated in the collection of any type of domestic surveillance, stating that the agency doesn't have the authority to do so "nor do we have the equipment in the United States to collect that kind of information." While there is an element of theatre to the questioning, we wouldn't be surprised to see Wired's article come up again in this type of context sooner rather than later.