WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. National Security Administration director said to discontinue bulk collection of phone records would mean an inability to avert a terrorist attack.
Gen. Keith Alexander told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday the controversial program data-gathering was vital to provide intelligence agencies with information.
"There is no other way that we know of to connect the dots," he said. "Taking the program off the table from my perspective is absolutely not the right thing to do."
Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., who has proposed legislation to end phone records collection, questioned whether the United States needed "to collect so much data on Americans.
"Just simply because you can do something, does it make sense to do it?" he said.
Leahy said the phone program has provided surveillance that was "uniquely valuable" in only one terrorism case and questioned the program's return on investment, the Washington Post reported.