FBI Chief Robert Mueller’s has injected himself into the growing debate over the “merits” of mass surveillance of the American public today, declaring to the House Judicial Oversight Committee that spying like NSA PRISM might conceivably have stopped 9/11.
Mueller cited that one of the hijackers made a phone call from San Diego, and that the call would’ve been intercepted and “acted upon” to uncover the plot. He also claimed that leaving PRISM intact would “prevent another Boston.”
Congressmen were quick to reject this argument, noting that PRISM was in place during the Boston Marathon bombings and did absolutely nothing to prevent them, and indeed that the past examples of PRISM “working” are dubious at best.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D – NY) said that subpoenaing data on every phone call as conceivably “relevant” made a mockery of the word, while Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R – UT) said that meta-data about suspects movements being acquired without a warrant was unconstitutional. Meuller claimed that never occurred to him.
The most memorable exchange though came from Rep. Louis Gohmert (R – TX), who accused Mueller of “over-classifying” information about US policy, to which Mueller refused to respond, suggesting that question was better asked in “a classified briefing.”