Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Massive NSA Wiretapping Both Illegal and Ineffective
Why is it that W and his Bush League minions feel that if an action is morally repugnant and/or flat-out illegal, it must by necessity be highly effective? First, they went on a torture binge that yielded a bunch of bogus data. Now, it seems that their illegal wiretapping was a massive and expensive waste of time and resources, too:|
Spy Agency Data After Sept. 11 Led F.B.I. to Dead EndsIt appears the only reason W and his Bush League minions pushed this policy was to roll back the post-Watergate restrictions on the Imperial Presidency. The Bush regime cares nothing about our country, our beliefs, or our freedoms. They only care about maintaining and increasing their own power.
By LOWELL BERGMAN, ERIC LICHTBLAU, SCOTT SHANE and DON VAN NATTA Jr.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 - In the anxious months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the National Security Agency began sending a steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names to the F.B.I. in search of terrorists. The stream soon became a flood, requiring hundreds of agents to check out thousands of tips a month.
But virtually all of them, current and former officials say, led to dead ends or innocent Americans.
President Bush has characterized the eavesdropping program, which focused on the international communications of some Americans and others in the United States, as a "vital tool" against terrorism; Vice President Dick Cheney has said it has saved "thousands of lives."
But the results of the program looked very different to some officials charged with tracking terrorism in the United States. More than a dozen current and former law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, including some in the small circle who knew of the secret eavesdropping program and how it played out at the F.B.I., said the torrent of tips led them to few potential terrorists inside the country they did not know of from other sources and diverted agents from counterterrorism work they viewed as more productive.
"We'd chase a number, find it's a school teacher with no indication they've ever been involved in international terrorism - case closed," said one former FBI official, who was aware of the program and the data it generated for the bureau. "After you get a thousand numbers and not one is turning up anything, you get some frustration."
(Source: New York Times Jan 17, 2005 [emphasis added.])