"You have to have the dots in order to connect the dots."
His implication, of course, is that the NSA' massive, unethical, and hopefully unconstitutional electronic surveillance program is necessary in order to gather data that will allow the discovery and foiling of terrorist plots.
Funny, but the 9/11 Commission's report nearly a decade ago stated clearly that the 9/11 attacks (which were waved in America's face again this week by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie) were not stopped because of a LACK of information, but because of a lack of TRUST between federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies that allowed the information in hand to be USED effectively. So in other words, the dots were there, but the agencies involved - including the NSA - failed to connect them and then to coalesce around a response strategy they could advocate to the White House.
Thus, trying to make sure they don't "fail America" again, they have built a data mining enterprise like no other - which does nothing to solve the problems that led to 9/11. Now there's some Waste, Fraud, and Abuse that needs Congressional investigating!