How Credible Are the Claims that Mass Surveillance Stops Terror Attacks?

The People Pushing the Claims Have No Credibility

We documented yesterday that top national security experts say that the government’s spying programs don’t make us safer … and that spying leaks don’t harm America.

In reality, top experts have said again and again that spying had little or no role in stopping terror plots.

So why are some government officials claiming that the spying programs are protecting us … and that blowing the whistle leaves us vulnerable?

Let’s start with NSA boss Keith Alexander.  One of the leading journalists on the NSA – James Bamford – notes today at Wired that Alexander has a long history of lying, illegal action, and incompetence:

In 2001, Alexander was a one-star general in charge of the Army Intelligence and Security Command, the military’s worldwide network of 10,700 spies and eavesdroppers. In March of that year he told his hometown Syracuse newspaper that his job was to discover threats to the country. “We have to stay out in front of our adversary,” Alexander said. “It’s a chess game, and you don’t want to lose this one.” But just six months later, Alexander and the rest of the American intelligence community suffered a devastating defeat when they were surprised by the attacks on 9/11.

Given the insane amount of information that American intelligence had about the planned 9/11 attacks well ahead of time (here, here and here), Alexander should have been fired.

Alexander was also guy who originally instituted illegal mass surveillance on Americans after 9/11

Following the assault, he ordered his Army intercept operators to begin illegally monitoring the phone calls and email of American citizens who had nothing to do with terrorism, including intimate calls between journalists and their spouses. Congress later gave retroactive immunity to the telecoms that assisted the government.

Two years later, Rumsfeld appointed Alexander—now a three-star general—director of the NSA, where he oversaw the illegal, warrantless wiretapping program while deceiving members of the House Intelligence Committee. In a publicly released letter to Alexander shortly after The New York Times exposed the program, US representative Rush Holt, a member of the committee, angrily took him to task for not being forthcoming about the wiretapping: “Your responses make a mockery of congressional oversight.”

(Alexander has repeatedly lied to Congress over spying).

Bamford also notes that Alexander was one of the main people responsible for the American torture program:

In 2003 Alexander, a favorite of defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was named the Army’s deputy chief of staff for intelligence, the service’s most senior intelligence position. Among the units under his command were the military intelligence teams involved in the human rights abuses at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison.

And Alexander has also helped unleash the hounds of cyber-warfare:

Ironically, having helped create the market in zero-day exploits and then having launched the world into the era of cyberwar, Alexander now says the possibility of zero-day exploits falling into the wrong hands is his “greatest worry.”

Indeed, Bamford notes that Alexander wants the NSA to “own the net”, and to conduct massive offensive cyber-warfare against the rest of the world.

Then there’s Congressman Peter King. Not only is King a blowhard who basically thinks that all Muslims are terrorists, but he substantially supported the Irish Republican Army –  a designated terrorist group – for decades.

Then there’s Dianne Feinstein, the California Senator.  While  the San Francisco native pretends that she’s a liberal who is for the little guy, Feinstein:

  • Has long pushed SOPA, PIPA and other anti-web privacy bills

Congressman Mike Rogers is the author of CISPA, which top security experts say is not needed … and would do more harm than good.

As top constitutional and military law expert Jonathan Turley notes, the current defenses of the spying program are nothing but butt-covering.

The entire spying program is exactly like the other major security boondoggles which are claimed to protect us, but which – according to the top experts – actually harm our national security:

They are being pushed because some people make huge bucks or gain political power … not because they are good for America.

As top NSA whistleblower William Binney told us in an interview last week, the people in charge of our intelligence programs are corrupt … and nothing will change until we clean house.

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  • gozounlimited

    Didn’t stop the attacks starting June 1st and still continuing……

  • Tonto

    “As top NSA whistleblower William Binney told us in an interview last week, the people in charge of our intelligence programs are corrupt … and nothing will change until we clean house.”


    The people in charge of our intelligence programs are corrupt … and nothing will change that even if we clean house!

    • gozounlimited

      Ms. Smith gets it right …..

      There is an emerging theme on the left that the true blame for our metastasized domestic spying programs lies with the American people. John Cole put it bluntly (via Corrente): “No, you want to see the villain, look in the mirror.” Charles Pierce was a little more diplomatic:

      You can argue — and I have — that we all tacitly consented to this kind of thing when we allowed our legislators to pass the Patriot Act without facing any substantial pushback at the polls,
      and that we all continued to consent to it by not making it a bigger issue in our politics than we have…….read more:

  • nveric

    Besides being busy work, and the prelude to population deplosion, and natural voyeurism of degenerates, the federal government of the USA insane.

  • edwinalowes

    The one thing that i remember the most clearly over the
    past 40 years of my school days at Brandeis University in 1970’s are my
    student adviser’s words that when he was growing up that his grand
    parents and parents used the term “‘goyishe kup,’” meaning that the
    “Non-Jews are Stupid”
    Later in life I learned that the exact translation of “GOYISHE KUP” means that the “Cattle are STUPID”..
    remember him recalling whatt his father told him when he was growing up
    in Eastern Europe. One of them being that when his father was in high
    school he and a group of friends would skip school early on Fridays and
    go over to his friend’s father’s butcher shop. That they would buy at
    cost any cows , that had not been butchered by the end of the day on
    Friday before the start of shabat . They would take the cow home and
    wash it and then the boys would procede to “beat the udders of the cows
    so that they would swell up and turn pink” so as to sell them to the
    “GOYISHE KUP” as milk producing cows.
    The part that I remember
    him asking me if the East Europeans are so naive, so gullible and so
    stupid to buy old “non milk producing cows” from a bunch of young Jewish
    So thinking of it now I agree with the Jewish saying that
    the “GOYISHE KUP” are indeed” Stupid” as they believe that a Bunch of
    Arab Moslem Kids who were not able to Fly a Cessna Airplane took it upon
    themselves to FLY a Jumbo 747 and outwitted the US Militaryand Civilian
    authorities. The “Jewish Lightning Insurance Scam” of the 1960’s is
    still alive and well has been put to good use by Larry Silverstein in
    putting 15 million down and comming out with 7 billion dollars for
    buidings that no one wanted to buy because it would have cost a billion
    dollars to remove the asbestos from. Then on top of that the people in
    America actually believe that they actually decide who is elected
    President or for that that actual VOTE is really counted and makes a
    difference in deciding who represents them in the White House and
    congress. ,

    Yeh I agree that the AmericanNon-Jews are indeed American “GOYISHE KUP” or “STUPID CATTLE”!

  • Sam TheFireman

    So why are some government officials claiming that the spying programs
    are protecting us … and that blowing the whistle leaves us vulnerable?…

    The “us” they are referring to is themselves and other government officials, not the American population.