NSA chief: U.S. spy program disclosure caused 'irreversible' damage

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The public disclosure of U.S. intelligence surveillance programs caused "irreversible" damage to national security and helped America's enemies, the head of the National Security Agency said on Tuesday.

"I think it was irreversible and significant damage to this nation," General Keith Alexander, the NSA's director, said at a House of Representatives Intelligence Committee hearing.

Asked whether the disclosures by contractor Edward Snowden had helped America's enemies, Alexander replied: "I believe it has and I believe it will hurt us and our allies."

(Reporting by Tabassum Zakaria and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Will Dunham)