NSA official: mass spying has foiled one (or fewer) plots in its whole history

During an NPR interview, the NSA's outgoing deputy director John C Inglis -- the top civilian official in the NSA hierarchy -- admitted that the NSA's mass surveillance program had foiled a total of one terrorist plot (an attempt to wire some money to al-Shabaab in Somalia) in its entire history. But he doesn't want to get rid of his agency's program of spying on everything every American does, because it's an "insurance policy" in case someone tries the kind of terrorist attack that it might foil.

While Inglis conceded in his NPR interview that at most one terrorist attack might have been foiled by NSA’s bulk collection of all American phone data – a case in San Diego that involved a money transfer from four men to al-Shabaab in Somalia – he described it as an “insurance policy” against future acts of terrorism.

“I'm not going to give that insurance policy up, because it's a necessary component to cover a seam that I can't otherwise cover,” Inglis said.

NSA makes final push to retain most mass surveillance powers [Spencer Ackerman/The Guardian]

Notable Replies

  1. IMB says:

    We all know about insurance. You pay and you pay and you pay, and it really doesn't cover everything and the thing that happens is often off the policy.

  2. Rindan says:

    So one of the worst violations of the fourth amendment (that we know about) and the destruction of rule by law is so that we can maybe have stopped one fucking money transfer? Seeing... so... much... red.

    Fuck Obama. That guy is an asshole. The only thing nice I can say about him is that he has a very small number of policies that are slightly less worse than what the alternative.

    It is my delusional fantasy that an anti-police state democrat will rally in from nowhere and loudly decry Bush's all but inevitable fifth term through Hillary, win the primary, and end winning with the democrat vote and by cannibalizing the republican's moderate libertarianish wing that is running for the hills in the face of the American Taliban wing of the Republican party. I said it was a fantasy.

  3. teapot says:

    He has been better than the other alternatives would have been. John McCain? Remember that guy? He wanted a full-on military conflict with Iran. Don't even get me started on Mittens and his binders full of fail.

    On Gitmo: Obama tried to move the prisoners out of Gitmo (to then shut it down) but was met with opposition to moving the prisoners to federal facilities from (surprise, surprise) the Repubs. They like their torture prison just the way it is, thanks.

    I'm not a fan of a lot of Obama's decisions but you're entirely deranged if you think he's been worse than Geroge "Mission Accomplished" Bush.

  4. Must be nice to be able to blame the machinations of the entire military industrial complex on one man.

    i don't believe the president runs the entire government, do any of you?

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