June 18, 2013 11:50 AM
National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander told a House committee that 50 terror threats in 20 countries have been disrupted with the assistance of two secret surveillance programs that were recently disclosed by former defense contractor Edward Snowden. At least 10 of the plots targeted the U.S. homeland, Alexander told the House Intelligence Committee, including a plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange. According to senior administration officials, Afghanistan officials will open a U.S.-backed office in the Gulf nation of Qatar to facilitate peace talks with the Taliban, according to senior administration officials. A senior Russian diplomat said the G-8 summit's joint statement on ending the Syrian civil war will not mention whether Bashar Assad must step down from power as part of any peace settlement. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters the eight nations have agreed they should not specify any outcome from peace talks that all agree should start soon in Geneva.