The NSA director, General Keith Alexander, is coming under scrutiny after he told a crowd gathered at the Def Con hacker conference that the spy agency “absolutely” does not collect data from and maintain files on American citizens. A former official stopped just shy of calling Alexander a liar, accusing him of playing a “word game.” William Binney left the department in late 2001, when it became apparent to him that it planned to use the terrorist attacks on September 11th as an “excuse” to launch a data collection program that was already in the planning stages. Alexander for his part maintains that any data, be it web searches, Twitter posts or emails, collected from American citizens is merely incidental, and associated with intelligence gathering on foreign entities. Of course, Binney rejects this claim and testimony from Qwest CEO James Nacchio regarding the NSA’s wiretapping program would seem to contradict it. ACLU attorney Alex Abdo, who was on the panel with Alexander, cast further doubt on the director’s denial.