Monday, January 13, 2014

NSA bulk data collection yields nothing

Zero. None. Nada. That's the number of terrorist attacks the NSA bulk data collection program has averted. And it stands to reason: if you are looking for a 'needle in a haystack' the last thing you need to do is make the haystack bigger.
An analysis of 225 terrorism cases inside the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has concluded that the bulk collection of phone records by the National Security Agency “has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.”
In the majority of cases, traditional law enforcement and investigative methods provided the tip or evidence to initiate the case, according to the study by the New America Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit group.
 The study, to be released Monday, corroborates the findings of a White House-appointed review group, which said last month that the NSA counterterrorism program “was not essential to preventing attacks” and that much of the evidence it did turn up “could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional [court] orders.”
Recall that Keith Alexander testilied before Congress that 54 attacks were averted by this program, only to be rebuked by Sen. Leahy.
 The researchers at the New America Foundation found that the program provided evidence to initiate only one case, involving a San Diego cabdriver, Basaaly ­Moalin, who was convicted of sending money to a terrorist group in Somalia. Three co-conspirators were also convicted. The cases involved no threat of attack against the United States.
 According to the New America Foundation, after the NSA shared Moalin’s number with the FBI, the bureau waited two months to begin an investigation and wiretap his phone.

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