Skip to main content

This week, we learned that millions of Americans have had their email address books and contact lists gobbled up by NSA bulk digital surveillance. This comes on the heels of NSA director Keith Alexander admitting that he lied to Congress about the principal justification for the NSA's ability to engage in bulk surveillance: stopping terror plots.

In June, Alexander sat before a congressional committee and claimed, without evidence, that 54 terror plots had been thwarted by bulk phone surveillance, that such surveillance had been critical in "unravel[ing] the threat stream." This bold statement, which many members treated with incredulity, came at a time in which Snowden's revelations were putting intense pressure on the Obama administration.

Now, Alexander has admitted that he boldly lied in June about the efficacy of bulk surveillance, and that a mere one or two plots were affected by the monitoring of Americans' communications.

Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, did not take Alexander's admittance lightly:

“We’re told we have to [conduct mass phone surveillance] to protect us, and the statistics are rolled out that they’re not accurate...It doesn’t have the credibility here in the Congress, it doesn’t have the credibility with this chairman and it doesn’t have the credibility with the country.”
While Leahy didn't call Alexander dishonest explicitly, he plainly couched the accusation in his railing about the inaccuracy of "statistics."

The question is now this: why does Alexander still have a job? Or, more importantly, this: why is the NSA still engaging in intensive bulk surveillance if its efficacy is so poor?

I fear the answer.


What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.


Originally posted to David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) on Tue Oct 15, 2013 at 06:11 AM PDT.

Also republished by Writing by David Harris Gershon.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, DeminNewJ, Chi, oofer, Liberal Thinking, Powered Grace, Shockwave, Wintermute, LuvSet, hyperstation, lysias, Aspe4, DFWmom, RFK Lives, gjohnsit, MarkInSanFran, hubcap, Dumbo, TheMomCat, concernedamerican, Zinman, boadicea, phillies, roses, retLT, sngmama, splashy, Alna Dem, wader, recontext, psnyder, businessdem, hazzcon, lcrp, dkmich, Diana in NoVa, zerelda, sawgrass727, radarlady, 3goldens, jrooth, LakeSuperior, ek hornbeck, corvo, run around, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, Sun Tzu, stevemb, Sandino, Pluto, Jim P, Nowhere Man, martini, BachFan, Medium Head Boy, Kingsmeg, cybersaur, koNko, AoT, blueoasis, triv33, onionjim, CA Nana, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Dianna, Lovo, chapel hill guy, Bernie68, bstotts, AllanTBG, pgm 01, Jarrayy, EdSF, Wino, FishOutofWater, david mizner, dclawyer06, aliasalias, Kentucky Kid, Wreck Smurfy, leonard145b, JML9999, Don midwest, kdnla, Assaf, Empower Ink, JDWolverton, MKinTN, CroneWit, eparrot, wayoutinthestix, poligirl, Youffraita, Involuntary Exile, dadadata, elwior, Buckeye Nut Schell, jamess, tofumagoo, priceman, Robobagpiper, CIndyCasella, RWN, Rhysling, cybrestrike, J M F, Throw The Bums Out, greengemini, ewmorr, JesseCW, fToRrEeEsSt, petral, RationalThoughtProcess, Keith Pickering, astral66, Words In Action, Just Bob, The Jester, The Free Agent, secret38b, Eddie L, gulfgal98, ffour, 4kedtongue, Publius2008, rja, Otteray Scribe, Floande, Nada Lemming, slice, allenjo, Lost Left Coaster, StateofEuphoria, FarWestGirl, Teiresias70, IB JOHN, CorinaR, PhilJD, Caddis Fly, DRo, Mentatmark, SouthernLiberalinMD, annecros, No one gets out alive, quill, anodnhajo, DeadHead, greenbastard, MsLillian, wordfiddler, turn blue, The Lone Apple, 420 forever, Steve Masover, congenitalefty, Horace Boothroyd III, hotheadCA, lunachickie, MusicFarmer, ottoveil, Windowpane, Robynhood too, Chaddiwicker, simple serf, jbob, 84thProblem, goodpractice, 3rock, gypsytoo, SixSixSix, SheilaKinBrooklyn, JerryNA, GreenMother, solarbay, Demeter Rising, marcr22, tampaedski, Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, patbahn

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site