NSA head General Keith Alexander was booed and heckled at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas this week.
During his speech (video below), Alexander repeated his often used talking points that the NSA had “stopped thirteen terrorist related activities in the United States,” but provided no evidence. He then claimed the NSA had stopped fifty-four worldwide terrorist events, again with no proof.
“Our nation takes stopping terrorism as one of the most important things,” stated Alexander, who was cut off by an audience member who yelled "freedom!"
Alexander seemed to be oblivious that he was being heckled: “Exactly. We stand for freedom.”
According to Forbes, the heckler was security consultant Jon McCoy who yelled “bullsh*t!” to applause from the crowd.
Alexander responded: “Not bad, But I think what you’re saying is that in these cases, what’s the distinction, where’s the discussion and what tools do we have to stop this.”
“No, I’m saying I don’t trust you!” said McCoy.
Another participant yelled: “You lied to Congress. Why would people believe you’re not lying to us right now?”
Alexander responded, “I haven’t lied to Congress.”
Actually, Alexander dodged numerous questions about the NSA when tesifying in front of Congress and claimed, without proof, that the NSA had stopped dozens of terror plots, reported The Guardian.
“I do think it’s important for us to have this discussion.” said Alexander, “Because in my opinion, what you believe is what’s written in the press without looking at the facts. This is the greatest technical center of gravity in the world. I ask that you all look at those facts.”
However, it is Alexander himself who has refused to release the facts, even to Congress.
“We get all these allegations of what [NSA staff] could be doing. But when people check what the NSA is doing, they’ve found zero times that’s happened," claimed Alexander.
“And that’s no bullsh*t. Those are the facts,” added Alexander.
“Read the Constitution” McCoy fired back.
“I have, so should you.” Alexander responded.
However, several legal experts have noted that the NSA spying likely violates the Fourth Amendment.
McCoy told Forbes that Alexander's speech was "anything you can see on Fox News any day. We’re in danger, we have to get rid of your freedom to keep you safe."
“Everyone’s thinking this, but no one’s saying it public, so everyone thinks they’re alone. Ninety-eight percent of society has issues with this… But no one speaks up.”