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The United States government's controversial data collection practices reportedly helped thwart plots to bomb the New York City subway system and New York Stock Exchange, Federal Bureau of Investigation deputy director Sean Joyce said during a House Intelligence Committee hearing this morning in Washington, DC. Information from the programs -- one focused on phone networks and another on the internet -- was also said to serve a role in stopping a separate bombing threat at Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in Denmark, which ran a cartoon depicting Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

National Security Agency director Keith Alexander added that, "50 terror threats in 20 countries" were stopped as a result of the controversial information gathering practices. "I would much rather be here today debating this than explaining why we were unable to prevent another 9/11'' attack," he said. When asked if the NSA is technologically capable of "flipping a switch" and listening in on Americans (whether by phone or internet), Alexander flatly answered, "no."

Update: According to a Wired report, the man named during today's hearing in connection with the New York Stock Exchange bombing, Khalid Ouazzani, wasn't convicted of anything regarding the NYSE. Rather, his plea cites various money laundering in connection with terrorists, and his lawyer said, "Khalid Ouazzani was hot involved in any plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange."

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FBI deputy director claims intelligence programs foiled NYC subway and NYSE bombings, among others (update)