Ron Wyden Calls Bullshit on FISA Security Claims

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EmptyWheel.net

Ron Wyden Calls Bullshit on FISA Security Claims

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), in an effort to defend his efforts to approve and hide dragnet collection on all Americans for years, claimed today that the dragnet prevented a terrorist attack.

“Within the last few years, this program was used to stop a terrorist attack in the United States. We know that. It’s important. It fills in a little seam that we have,” Rogers told reporters Thursday. ”And it’s used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event if there may be one ongoing. So in that regard, it is a very valuable thing,” Rogers said.

When pressed later for more details, Rogers said the committee is “working on trying to get this declassified in a way that we can provide more information. We’re not there yet. But it was a significant case that happened within the last few years.”

Get this: Rogers’ defense argues it makes sense to conduct dragnet surveillance of 310 million Americans for 7 years (plus the 5 years Bush did so illegally), all to thwart one terrorist plot.

One. Plot.

21 million person-years of call data collected since 2006.

One plot.

In his statement, Ron Wyden is a lot more skeptical that this program is so valuable.

The American people have a right to know whether their government thinks that the sweeping, dragnet surveillance that has been alleged in this story is allowed under the law and whether it is actually being conducted. Furthermore, they have a right to know whether the program that has been described is actually of value in preventing attacks. Based on several years of oversight, I believe that its value and effectiveness remain unclear.

Hey, I’d say that one plot over 7 years — especially when you consider how many banksters have done trillions of damage while FBI and NSA have been fiddling with the call records of innocent people — is the definition of a waste of time and resources.

Marcy Wheeler

Marcy Wheeler writes the blog Emptywheel. Her book, Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy, provided a primer on the CIA Leak case surrounding Valerie Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson. She has a Ph.D. from University of Michigan; her research focused on the oppositional uses of a particular literary-journalistic form that arose with the industrial press. Marcy is a recipient of the Hillman Award for blog journalism.

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