and connections. I appreciate your efforts in this regard.For these authorities to continue, they must continue to be available. Without them, I fear we will returnto the position where we were prior to the attacks of September 11th, 2001. And that would beunacceptable for all of us.I hope today's hearing will help answer questions that have arisen as a result of the fragmentary anddistorted illegal disclosures over the past several days.Before recognizing General Alexander for his opening statement, I turn the floor over to the rankingmember for any opening statement he'd like to make.
Well, I agree with really a lot of what the chairman said.General Alexander, Chris Inglis, you know, your leadership in NSA has been outstanding. And I justwant to acknowledge the people who work at NSA every day. NSA is in my district. I have anoccasion to communicate, and a lot of the people who go to work to protect our country, who work hard every day, are concerned that the public think they're doing something wrong. And that's not thecase at all.And the most important thing we can do here today is let the public know the true facts. I know thatChairman Rogers and I and other members have asked you to help declassify what we can, that will nothurt our security, so the public can understand that this important (sic) is legal, why we're doing this program and how it protects us.We're here today because of the brazen disclosure of critical classified information that keeps our country safe. This widespread leak by a 29-year-old American systems administrator put our countryand our allies in danger by giving the terrorists a really good look at the play book that we use to protectour country. The terrorists now know many of our sources and methods.There's been a lot in the media about this situation. Some right. A lot wrong. We're holding this openhearing today so we can set the record straight and the American people can hear directly from theintelligence community as to what is allowed and what is not under the law. We need to educatemembers of Congress also, with the public.To be clear, the National Security Agency is prohibited from listening in on phone calls of Americanswithout proper, court- approved legal authorities.We live in a country of laws. These laws are strictly followed and layered with oversight from three branches of government, including the executive branch, the courts and Congress.Immediately after 9/11, we learned that a group of terrorists were living in the United States actively plotting to kill Americans on our own soil. But we didn't have the proper authorities in place to stopthem before they could kill almost 3,000 innocent people.Good intelligence is clearly the best defense against terrorism. There are two main authorities that have been highlighted in the press, the business records provision that allows the government to legally collectwhat is called metadata, simply the phone number and length of call. No content, no conversations. Thisauthority allows our counterterrorism and the law enforcement officials to close the gap on foreign and