Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Edward Snowden: NSA Too Busy Spying on Americans To Catch Terrorists

In testimony published last week by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs, NSA snooping whistleblower Edward Snowden told lawmakers that mass spying has proven to be an especially ineffective means of deterring wrongdoing. NSA claims to have prevented multiple terrorist attacks evaporate upon actual scrutiny. Worse, he says, the NSA is so busy probing the general public’s gaming habits and personal communications that it has no time or resources to devote to anything useful—like stopping terrorists.

According to Snowden:

The first principle any inquiry must take into account is that despite extraordinary political pressure to do so, no western government has been able to present evidence showing that such programs are necessary. In the United States, the heads of our spying services once claimed that 54 terrorist attacks had been stopped by mass surveillance, but two independent White House reviews with access to the classified evidence on which this claim was founded concluded it was untrue, as did a Federal Court.

Looking at the US government’s reports here is valuable. The most recent of these investigations, performed by the White House’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, determined that the mass surveillance program investigated was not only ineffective–they found it had never stopped even a single imminent terrorist attack–but that it had no basis in law.

Specifically, the board concluded, “we have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation.”

When it comes to legal concerns, the board noted “There are four grounds upon which we find that the telephone records program fails to comply with Section 215,” that “the program violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act,” and that “The NSA’s telephone records program also raises concerns under both the First and Fourth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”

Full article: http://reason.com/bl … oo-busy-spying-on-am

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