Brooks says terror threat still substantial - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Brooks says terror threat still substantial

Source: MGN Online Source: MGN Online

The new terrorist threat against Americans is simply more of terrorists doing what U.S. leaders have been fighting to stop for years, said Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks.

New reports that al-Qaeda terrorists were planning attacks against American targets in the Middle East came only a week after the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly defeated a measure to defund the surveillance of phone records by the National Security Agency. 

In testimony before Congress, national intelligence officials said that, since 2006, measures such as the Patriot Act and the NSA's collection of phone call logs, "metadata," have thwarted 54 terrorist plots against Americans, inside the United States and overseas.

"I've been privy to the classified documents," said Brooks, "and just counting the types of attacks that were planned but which we were able to prevent, if we had been unable to prevent them, it would easily have cost thousands of American lives."

Most of the particulars of the foiled plots remain classified, except for the fact that one of them was to be against New York City bridges and tunnels and the other was to be against the New York Stock exchange, Brooks said. He dated both of those attempts to 2009.

In the current terror alert, Brooks said it's hard to tell if the terrorist "chatter" detected by intelligence agencies is real plans for an attack or simply chatter intended to frighten.

Brooks said he was not alarmed by the narrow margin by which the House defeated a measure to cut off funding for NSA surveillance. He said support for the war on terror remains strong in Congress, even if a large number of republicans voted against the surveillance program this one time.

"There were a number of folks who were concerned about attacks on their right in primaries.  So, although they support the NSA metadata program, they chose to oppose it just for the purpose of preventing campaign attacks in Republican primaries," he said.

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