Thursday, February 9, 2006

So, the NSA wiretap brouhaha. Not only is it illegal and immoral, but also incompetent and ineffectual, according to Insight Magazine:

The Bush administration's surveillance policy has failed to make a dent in the war against al Qaeda.

U.S. law enforcement sources said that more than four years of surveillance by the National Security Agency has failed to capture any high-level al Qaeda operative in the United States. They said al Qaeda insurgents have long stopped using the phones and even computers to relay messages. Instead, they employ couriers.

"They have been way ahead of us in communications security," a law enforcement source said. "At most, we have caught some riff-raff. But the heavies remain free and we believe some of them are in the United States."


The law enforcement sources said the intelligence community has identified several al Qaeda agents believed to be in the United States. But the sources said the agents have not been found because of insufficient intelligence and even poor analysis.

The assertions by the law enforcement sources dispute President Bush's claim that the government surveillance program has significantly helped in the fight against terrorism.


Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union confirm that the FBI has monitored and infiltrated a range of Muslim and Arab groups, including the Washington-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

But despite the huge amount of raw material gathered under the legislation, the FBI has not captured one major al Qaeda operative in the United States. Instead, federal authorities have been allowed to use non-terrorist material obtained through the surveillance program for investigation and prosecution.

Also, President Bush has been saying that they've only been listening in on international calls made to al Qaeda members. Which is--guess what?--a lie:

The president said the program, which goes beyond the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, limits eavesdropping to international phone calls.

The sources provided guidelines to how the administration has employed the surveillance program. They said the National Security Agency in cooperation with the FBI was allowed to monitor the telephone calls and e-mails of any American believed to be in contact with a person abroad suspected of being linked to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups.

At that point, the sources said, all of the communications of that American would be monitored, including calls made to others in the United States.

Big surprise....

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