(Washington, DC)  --  Government surveillance efforts are credited for foiling more than 50 terror plots since 9-11.   In a House hearing, NSA Director Keith Alexander talked about four of the foiled plans, including a plot to blow up New York City subways.  General Alexander said defending surveillance is definitely better than trying to defend "another 9-11."  He cited the challenge of protecting national security while also preserving privacy rights. 

The NSA has come under fire after stories surfaced about phone and Internet data mining.  Alexander condemned news leaks, calling them potentially harmful to national security.  He noted that NSA programs are authorized by Congress and said data mining cannot occur without special court orders.  Meantime, Deputy Attorney General James Cole argued that U.S. surveillance efforts are more transparent than those of European allies.