The numbers game muddies NSA surveillance debate

Associated Press + More

By EILEEN SULLIVAN and LARA JAKES, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has been using a lot of numbers in an effort to win back public trust as it explains surveillance programs that capture records of millions of Americans' communications.

Intelligence officials say the surveillance granted by authorities for the programs has helped thwart at least 50 plots in 20 countries worldwide, including 10 to 12 plots against the U.S.

The numbers are confusing many in Congress, as lawmakers grapple with how to assure increasingly skeptical Americans that their privacy rights are protected amid the security risks they face.

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