When the scandals surrounding the NSA collection of Americans’ telephone data emerged, the administration defended it with repeated claims that they had disrupted 54 terrorist plots thanks to their constant spying on your telephone calls.
But they “weren’t all plots and they weren’t all foiled,”
That’s the punchline today from a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, at which chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D – VT) pushed heavily for details and revealed that the claims were wildly misleading, at best.
Leahy first got NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander to admit that of the 54 putative plots, only 13 had anything to do with the United States, and on additional questioning he conceded that the program had only actually foiled one, or “perhaps two” plots from the surveillance.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper defended the program, saying that actual data on real plots foiled was not an important metric to gauge success, and that the broad surveillance of the entire human race also provided “peace of mind.” Yet if Clapper truly believed this, one would think he wouldn’t have pushed the mythic “54 plot” claim so hard.
9 thoughts on “NSA Chief: Phone Surveillance Foiled ‘One, Perhaps Two’ Plots”
One or two plots, eh? Did the FBI forget to send the memo to the NSA that those "plots" were part of the Bureau's on-going make-work program?
Do those plots include the attempted assault on a military base reported by a hardware store clerk, or the notorious Times square non-bomber reported by his neighbors? Surely to goodness they're not counting the Boston 'poster plot' that shut down traffic for a couple of days.
Of course it did the clerk made a telephone call! Same with the neighbor, doesn't matter that it was reported to a different authority , THE NSA KNEW! THEY HAD A RECORD OF IT!
Sound like a bedtime story my grandmother use to. Tell, “the cow jump over the moon.” These guys could not ‘foiled’ the Boston bombers even when they were tip off by the Russians, they were too busy listening to people sexual conversation and spying on their spouses.
It would have been foiled had the NSA 'quones' not been running their own 'bomb threat foiling exercise' at the Boston Marathon that day. All those 'good guys' allowed the two bad guys to mix in undetected.
For just an additional budget allocation of 10 or twenty billion, NSA could increase it's overwatch to a point where 'plots' could be detected and foiled before they're actually conceived. Then we'd all be perfectly safe.
I'm willing to bet, a lot, that somewhere in academia there is a government-sponsored project, funded by millions of taxpayer $$$$$$, to figure out how do just that.
And subcontracted to some Israeli company.
"actual data on real plots foiled was not an important metric to gauge success,"
Isn't that like saying the number of times a pilot has both successfully taken off and landed is not an important aspect of his or her career?
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