America`s top cyber spy warns Chicago about cyber security

America`s top cyber spy warns Chicago about cyber security

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General Keith Alexander (National Security Agency) General Keith Alexander (National Security Agency)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

America's top cyber spy was in Chicago Friday.

General Keith Alexander warned the Chicago council on global affairs that terrorists continue to threaten the United States and its allies.

Additionally, he talked about the damage done by fugitive leaker Edward Snowden.

"Those terrorists are pushing. We have never been busier than we are right now," Gen. Alexander said.

Commander of the National Security Agency General Keith Alexander told a Chicago audience Friday there's a simple question at the heart of the debate over privacy versus security, "What's the tools that we need to defend our country? What's the least intrusive way of doing that?"

The NSA has come under fire recently since former contractor Edward Snowden leaked thousands of pages of classified documents revealing operational details about the agency's global surveillance apparatus, including data collection of millions of American's phone records.

The general defends the program and said only a tiny fraction of those calls or emails are ever monitored, and then only after the NSA gets permission from the courts.

"As much as I've been wire brushed over the last eight months, I would much rather have this discussion than to be up here and tell you why we failed in another nine eleven," Gen. Alexander said.

As for Snowden's actions, the NSA director said they've caused major damage to U.S. security.

"In my opinion it has done significant and irreversible damage to our country. It means our ability to prevent future terrorist attacks is less than it was a year ago," Gen. Alexander said.

Among those welcoming Alexander, was former U.S. NATO ambassador Ivo Daalder, who now runs the Chicago council on Global Affairs.

"I think our leaders around the world know that the intelligence information and collaboration they're having with the NSA and other intelligence agencies is extraordinarily important for their security," Daalder said.

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