NSA put off plans after leaks

Even good ideas now seen as toxic

Posted: February 3, 2014 at 3:29 a.m.

National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander greets audience members before President Barack Obama spoke about National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at the Justice Department in Washington. Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, President Barack Obama on Friday called for ending the government's control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court's permission before accessing such records. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON — Early last year, as Edward Snowden was secretly purloining classified documents from National Security Agency computers in Hawaii, the agency’s director, Gen. Keith Alexander, was gearing up to sell Congress and the public on a proposal for the National Security Agency to defend private U.S. computer networks against cyberattacks.

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