They are such liars! Since September 2001 the government’s secrecy spooks have insisted that their indiscriminate monitoring of our phone calls, emails, financial transactions and reading habits is necessary to protect us from terrorists. But evidence is mounting that the NSA, CIA and FBI are full of it.
There is not a single provable instance that this scuttling of our Constitutional privacy rights has made us safer. The example President Barack Obama drummed up in defense of continuing the post-9/11 mass surveillance was proved false: hijacker Khalid al-Mihdhar, who had traveled all too easily between the Middle East and Southern California on a valid Saudi Arabian passport.
But surveillance of the entire U.S. population to figure out what Mihdhar was up to was unnecessary. The al-Qaeda operative was reportedly living in the San Diego apartment of an FBI informant. He was also quite visible on the radar of the CIA, which had been closely monitoring his movements without spotting any danger signs. It was Mihdhar’s team that crashed a passenger plane into the Pentagon on 9/11.
Mihdhar was much like the suspects named in the Boston Marathon bombings and the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. They too were well known to various law-enforcement agencies, and one of the alleged Charlie Hebdo assassins had served time in a French prison. The problem was not in failing to collect enough personal information on all Americans, but rather in connecting the dots on a few known subjects who truly mattered.