NSA Surveillance Hasn't Prevented Attacks: Study

All the foiled attacks relied on traditional methods
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2014 10:26 AM CST
NSA Surveillance Hasn't Prevented Attacks: Study
This June 6, 2013 file photo shows the sign outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md.    (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The NSA's controversial trove of phone metadata "has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism," a new analysis of 225 terrorism cases from the nonprofit New America Foundation has concluded. Most of the cases it looked at were cracked using old-fashioned investigative tools, like tip-offs from family or community members, or the use of informants, the Washington Post reports. Bulk surveillance had "only the most marginal of impacts," helping to initiate at most 1.8% of cases.

The government argues that the NSA database allows it to respond rapidly. But in the main case it cites to defend the program—in which a man was convicted of sending money to Somali terrorists—the FBI waited two months to act on the NSA's tip. The report largely backs up President Obama's advisory panel. Obama will announce proposed reforms for the program Friday. But while he could stop the program on his own, he's expected to instead suggest a public-private hybrid program to replace it—which will require always elusive Congressional approval, Politico reports. (More NSA stories.)

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