Outgoing NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander talks with FOX News’ Bret Baier.
“I would get more respect if we could do all that. If you think about all the data that’s out there, it’s wrong. We don’t do it. We wouldn’t do it…Not even close,” Alexander says when asked about the perception that the NSA listens to all phone calls and reads all emails.
“215, remember, is call detail records that has a number to and from, the duration of the call and the date and time group. It’s just numbers. We don’t know whose number it is. We know the foreign terrorist’s number that’s calling. If all of a sudden he calls my number, the FBI would want to know why is Zawahiri calling Alexander? What’s going on with that? And they should know. We want them to know that. We want to give them that. The FBI would have to determine who I am by going to a national security letter or to a FISA, uh, warrant to get that access to my records. So in that, what we serve as the alert. We don’t have Americans’ e-mails or their content of their phone calls in that database. It’s just numbers. It’s just the call detail records. Think of this in the old phone bills that you used to get that would list all the numbers that you called. Take off your name off the top, put the two phone numbers, put those in a database, that’s what we have. That’s it. So when people say, well, you’re listening to every thing in there or doing that, they’re wrong.”