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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 September 2007, 01:31 GMT 02:31 UK
Wiretaps 'foiled terror attacks'
Suspects arrested in Germany
Three men were arrested for planning an attack on US facilities
The US director of intelligence has said wiretaps played a significant role in stopping bomb attacks by suspected Islamists in Germany last week.

Michael McConnell told a Senate committee eavesdropping had revealed that the suspects had obtained explosive liquids.

He said Congress should not restrict the programme.

In August, a temporary bill was adopted allowing eavesdropping on foreign terror suspects without a warrant.

Controversial programme

Mr McConnell said the surveillance programme had made "significant contributions" in discovering and breaking up a suspected plot in Germany to bomb US installations.

Michael McConnell
Michael McConnell pleaded against the restrictions

"It allowed us to see and understand all the connections to al-Qaeda," Mr McConnell told a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

The programme also contributed to the arrests in Denmark of eight Muslims, with suspected links to al-Qaeda, on suspicion of planning a bomb attack, National Counterterrorism Centre Director John Redd told reporters later.

Civil liberties advocates have criticised portions of the programme which allow the monitoring of international calls to people in the US.

Congress passed legislation in August easing for six months restrictions on wiretapping under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Some Democrats have vowed to revise it as early as possible.


SEE ALSO
Bush signs expanded wiretap law
06 Aug 07 |  Americas
FBI chief 'contradicts Gonzales'
27 Jul 07 |  Americas
Q&A: US surveillance row
06 Aug 07 |  Americas

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