WASHINGTON - The US government's surveillance of phone and Internet communications led to the 2009 arrest of a Chicago man who was planning to bomb a Danish newspaper that had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, the White House said on Thursday.
The White House also confirmed assertions by US officials and members of Congress that electronic eavesdropping by the National Security Agency had helped foil a plot by Islamist militants to bomb the New York subway system in 2009.
The revelations came as government officials continued to defend the broad, secret surveillance programs that were revealed last week by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden's leak revealing the NSA's collection of data from billions of communications each day ignited a national debate over whether the government is intruding too far into Americans' lives in the name of national security.
Some members of Congress - including US Senator Rand Paul, who on Thursday sought to promote a class-action lawsuit against the NSA - have accused President Barack Obama's administration of not telling Congress enough about such surveillance.
Obama and several congressional leaders have argued that lawmakers were kept informed, and that such surveillance was authorized by Congress as part of dramatic security changes that followed the hijacked airline attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
US authorities have said in recent days that the data collected from telephone and Internet companies has help to thwart "dozens" of attacks.