Folks familiar with my commentary here may recall I've been making note of the following, stark contrast regarding a poignant story about the economic terrorists among us: San Diego Cab Driver and Somali national Basaaly Moalin will be sentenced later this month to--more than likely--a very lengthy jail term for donating roughly $8,000 to the Somali terrorist group al Shabaab; while executives of HSBC, Standard Chartered and Wachovia/Wells Fargo ended up with managerial wrist slaps for laundering $1.5 trillion on behalf of al Qaeda, Hezbollah and South American drug cartels over the past few years.

Well, it turns out, based upon testimony by NSA Director/General Keith Alexander in front of Patrick Leahy's (D-VT) Senate Judiciary Committee, yesterday, of those "54 thwarted terror attacks" claimed by the NSA to justify their Orwellian surveillance of virtually the entire planet, 53 of them were--for all intents and purposes--either a total fabrication or a very gross exaggeration. Only one "attack" was actually thwarted, and it was the $8,000 donation to al Shabaab by that poor jerk driving the cab in San Diego: Basaaly Moalin.

(In a second terror plot, the NSA provided only supporting information for an incident that was uncovered by other entities; and, even then, it was eventually terminated by the parties involved due to their own determination that the event would be too risky. And, for an additional 11 incidents, the NSA was, at best, involved after the fact. As for the other 40 terror events that the NSA claimed it prevented, apparently, they were created out of thin air to support the campaign of "No Such Agency" to terrorize the public into supporting their Orwellian efforts.)

I first read about this story this morning, over at Salon, where the number had dropped from 54 to 13. But, upon a closer review, even that was an absurd overstatement...

NSA director admits to misleading public on terror plots

The administration has been amping up stats about foiled plots to bolster support for mass surveillance

By Natasha Lennard
Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013 05:39 PM EDT

In so many words, NSA director Keith Alexander admitted Wednesday that the Obama administration had issued misleading information about terror plots and their foiling to bolster support for the government’s vast surveillance apparatus.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy pushed Alexander to admit that plot numbers had been fudged in a revealing interchange:

“There is no evidence that [bulk] phone records collection helped to thwart dozens or even several terrorist plots,” said Leahy. The Vermont Democrat then asked the NSA chief to admit that only 13 out of a previously cited 54 cases of foiled plots were genuinely the fruits of the government’s vast dragnet surveillance systems:

“These weren’t all plots, and they weren’t all foiled,” Leahy said, asking Alexander, “Would you agree with that, yes or no?”

“Yes,” replied Alexander...

But, even the Salon piece was somewhat softballed, as we learned later in the day from Marcy Wheeler...
The Scandal of Lying about “Thwarted” “Plots” Started 4 Years Ago
Marcy Wheeler
October 3, 2013 by emptywheel   

As predicted, one big takeaway from yesterday’s NSA hearing (the other being the obviously partial disclosure about location tracking) is Keith Alexander’s admission that rather than 54 “plots” “thwarted” in the US thanks to the dragnet, only one or maybe two were. Here are some examples.

But they’re missing this real scandal about the government’s lies about the central importance of Section 215.

That scandal started 4 years ago, when an example the FBI now admits had limited import played a critical role in the reauthorization of Section 215 without limits on the dragnet authority.

First, note that even while Leahy got Alexander to back off his “54 plots” claim, the General still tried to insist Section 215 had been critical in two plots, not just one.

SEN. LEAHY: Let’s go into that discussion, because both of you have raised concerns that the media reports about the government surveillance programs have been incomplete, inaccurate, misleading or some combination of that. But I’m worried that we’re still getting inaccurate and incomplete statements from the administration.

For example, we have heard over and over again the assertion that 54 terrorist plots were thwarted by the use of Section 215 and/or Section 702 authorities. That’s plainly wrong, but we still get it in letters to members of Congress; we get it in statements. These weren’t all plots, and they weren’t all thwarted. The American people are getting left with an inaccurate impression of the effectiveness of NSA programs.

Would you agree that the 54 cases that keep getting cited by the administration were not all plots, and out of the 54, only 13 had some nexus to the U.S. Would you agree with that, yes or no?


SEN. LEAHY: OK. In our last hearing, Deputy Director Inglis’ testimony stated that there’s only really one example of a case where, but for the use of Section 215, bulk phone records collection, terrorist activity was stopped. Is Mr. Inglis right?

DIR. ALEXANDER: He’s right. I believe he said two, Chairman; I may have that wrong, but I think he said two, and I would like to point out that it could only have applied in 13 cases because of the 54 terrorist plots or events, only 13 occurred in the U.S. Business Record FISA was only used in (12 of them ?).

SEN. LEAHY: I understand that, but what I worry about is that some of these statements that all is — all is well, and we have these overstatements of what’s going on — we’re talking about massive, massive, massive collection. We’re told we have to do that to protect us, and then statistics are rolled out that are not accurate. It doesn’t help with the credibility here in the Congress; doesn’t help with the credibility with us, Chairman, and it doesn’t help with the credibility with the — with the country...
[my emphasis]

There's much more to this story, and Marcy does an exceptional job--as she has all along while covering the incredible, granular details of this over-arching story--so, I strongly urge you to read it, to appreciate what I've just stated.

In her closing comments, she reminds us...

...It has taken 4 years and 3 debates about Section 215 for the IC to finally admit Section 215 has not actually proven crucial for thwarting any single plot (except one guy sending money to defeat a US backed invasion)...

...And we’re only now learning the truth.

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(Please contain the flames in the comments to a minimum. The Daily Kos fire department is on a partial furlough due to House Speaker Boehner's government shutdown. But, the NY Times is now running an article, as of 40 minutes ago, which is telling us that he has now pledged--no matter what--to absotively, posilutely avoid default. Honest! I mean, after reading the story above, how could we ever doubt the words of those running our government in Washington, DC? No Truth. No Justice. And, the American way!)

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