Snowden blamed but the fact is that U.S. Mass Surveillance has not identified any large scale terrorist attack before or after Snowden leaks
After the last Friday’s gruesome terrorist attacks on innocent Parisians, CIA Director John Brennan stated on Monday that “many of these terrorist operations are uncovered and thwarted before they’re able to be carried out,” and lamented the post-Snowden “handwringing” that has made that job more difficult.
Immediately after Brennan’s statement, the tech forums, social media and intelligence community came together to blame serial whistle blower and ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden for the tragic terrorist attacks in Paris. In fact many in the intelligensia went to blame Snowden for all the large scale terrorist attacks that have happened over recent years including the Boston Marathon bombings by Tsarnaev brothers.
Tsarnaev was a refugee. Paris attackers probably used encryption. Snowden revelations probably helped those attackers.
— Pumpkin Spice Graham (@ErrataRob) November 17, 2015
Despite the intelligence community’s attempts to blame NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for the tragic attacks in Paris on Friday, the NSA’s mass surveillance programs do not have a track record, before or after Snowden’s leaks in June 2013, of identifying or thwarting actual large-scale terrorist plots.
Intercept notes that actual reason that there haven’t been any large-scale terror attacks by ISIS in the U.S. is not because they were averted by Brennan’s CIA or other snooping agencies but because ISIS has not planned any large scale attack on United States up until now.
The Intercept says that even before Snowden, the NSA wasn’t able to provide a single substantiated evidence of the success of its mass surveillance in stopping any major terrorist attack.
The recent history of terror arrests linked to ISIS is documented in an internal unclassified Department of Homeland Security document provided to The Intercept via SecureDrop. It shows that terror arrests between January 2014 and September 2015 linked to ISIS were largely of people trying to travel abroad, provide material support, or plan attacks that were essentially imaginary.
The document, dated before the Paris attacks, includes a list and map of 64 U.S. persons arrested on terror-related charges over the course of nine months who were “assessed to be inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” or ISIS.
There are just five instances of what the report’s authors call “advanced attack plotting” — two of which involve the FBI providing assistance in planning or acquiring supplies for an attack before making an arrest.
The case and point made by Jenna McLaughlin of Intercept is that it is wrong to suggest that the leaks by Edward Snowden were remotely responsible for the Paris terrorist attacks. The US mass surveillance program is yet to prove its use in stopping a terrorist attack on the scale of a 13/11 Paris attack.