Last Updated:September 1 @ 05:27 pm

NSA official admits phone spying stopped only 1 plot

By United Press International

U.S. bulk phone records spying was key in stopping only one terror plot, not the dozens officials had said, a senior National Security Agency official conceded.

NSA Deputy Director John Inglis made the acknowledgment to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who accused Obama administration officials of overstating the successes of the far-reaching counter-terrorism program that collects millions of Americans' phone records.

Leahy questioned earlier testimony by NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander and other senior intelligence officials asserting the phone surveillance helped thwart 54 terrorist events.

Leahy told Inglis he realized after reviewing NSA material that assertion couldn't be made -- "not by any stretch."

He said the NSA material didn't indicate "dozens or even several terrorist plots" had been thwarted by the domestic program.

Inglis admitted the phone-interception program "made a contribution" to discovering 13 domestic plots but was only critical in thwarting one -- a plot he described as a "but for" case.

That case was a September 2009 suicide-bomb plot to wreak havoc in the New York City subway system, Inglis told the committee.

Inglis said the NSA heard Afghan-American suspect Najibullah Zazi talking on the phone about the plot. That interception led the agency to provide authorities with a phone number of a co-conspirator investigators hadn't been aware of.

Zazi and two other defendants pleaded guilty to the plot in 2010.

Inglis acknowledged to Leahy the 54 figure actually involved both the phone-records program and the separate, formerly clandestine PRISM mass electronic-surveillance data-mining program, which allows surveillance targeted at non-citizens abroad.

Leahy upbraided administration officials for conflating the two programs to exaggerate the programs' accomplishments, saying "it needs to stop."

"This bulk-collection program has massive privacy implications," Leahy said. "The phone records of all of us in this room -- all of us in this room -- reside in an NSA database.

"I've said repeatedly, just because we have the ability to collect huge amounts of data does not mean that we should be doing so," he said.

"If this program is not effective, it has to end," Leahy said. "So far, I'm not convinced by what I've seen."

Administration officials defended the collection effort and the PRISM program as critical to U.S. security yet carefully monitored.

"With these programs and other intelligence activities, we are constantly seeking to achieve the right balance between the protection of national security and the protection of privacy and civil liberties," Deputy Attorney General James Cole said. "We believe these two programs have achieved the right balance."

But Cole and Robert Litt, the top lawyer in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said the administration was open to re-evaluating the program to regain public trust.

Pending legislation in the Senate would narrow the program's scope.

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29 Comments

  1. my04301933Comment by my04301933
    August 2, 2013 @ 8:21 am

    re: “NSA Deputy Director John Inglis made the acknowledgment to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who accused Obama administration officials of overstating the successes of the far-reaching counter-terrorism program that collects millions of Americans’ phone records.”

    Senator Leahy, what does it take for you o realize that a major offense has been conducted against you as a representative of your country…the NSA LIED TO YOU the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, YOU Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

    Or is it only Democrats whom you protect…and others, such as perhaps GOP, Tea Party and other voters you will prosecute.

    To me that means you are a traitor yourself by turning the other way and not protecting this entire country…not just your party, BUT THE COUNTRY, spelled A-M-E-R-I=C-A!…I understand my history Patrick…and I call you “sans title” because I understand and recognize a NAZI type mentality, one dedicated to the OBAMA NAZI PARTY…

    …and NOT YOUR COUNTRY!

    Turn in your badge Patrick…you are an embarrassment to your friends and family…to AMERICA.

    dumb-ox!

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    • usafoldsargeComment by usafoldsarge
      August 2, 2013 @ 10:39 am

      READ THE ARTICLE AGAIN SLOWER! Leahy upbraided administration officials for conflating the two programs to exaggerate the programs’ accomplishments, saying “it needs to stop.”
      If you have a problem reading and comprehending writing, learn to understanding reading material :
      “This bulk-collection program has massive privacy implications,” Leahy said. “The phone records of all of us in this room — all of us in this room — reside in an NSA database.

      “I’ve said repeatedly, just because we have the ability to collect huge amounts of data does not mean that we should be doing so,” he said.

      “If this program is not effective, it has to end,” Leahy said. “So far, I’m not convinced by what I’ve seen.”

      I too, have a dislike for democrats, but have greater dislike for republicans who are blind and illiterate

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      Rating: 2.9/5 (12 votes cast)
    • bna42Comment by bna42
      August 2, 2013 @ 11:02 am

      sarge,
      “Leahy upbraided administration officials” is just another way of saying he complained. BUT the NSA surveillance program was given another two year contract BEFORE the truth came out.

      They lie, they get caught, they get “upbraided”, and they move on. When is someone going to be prosecuted for lying under oath? How long does Congress expect the American people to tolerate government corruption while they “upbraid” and complain? Let’s see some subpoenas, indictments, and prosecutions. Let’s see corrupt government officials required to obey the law or suffer the consequences.

      I think your admonition “READ THE ARTICLE AGAIN SLOWER. . .If you have a problem reading and comprehending writing, learn to understanding reading material. . .” is a little obnoxious when obviously you aren’t comprehending what we are talking about. Leahy is just playing a game. Do you think “upbraid” means a subpoena was issued or a charge of perjury was filed”?

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    • usafoldsargeComment by usafoldsarge
      August 2, 2013 @ 11:16 am

      UPBRAIDING accepted, however, you don’t hear any of the powerful republicans from either house saying what Leahy has said. Glad, however you used the word “little” when describing me as obnoxious………

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      August 2, 2013 @ 11:33 am

      As one sarge to another, I didn’t say you were a little obnoxious. I said your comment “upbraiding” another post was a little obnoxious. And I don’t know about you, but I have seen several times that other Republicans have told people testifying before Congress that they were “full of it”. Just recently during the IRS investigation, one of them held up a document that had been requested and waved it in the face of Werfel (sp) and said “this is trash”. Wouldn’t you consider that “upbraiding”?

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    • oleteabagComment by oleteabag
      August 2, 2013 @ 11:52 am

      Then that contract with the NSA needs to be CANCELLED, bna42, since it was obtained under FALSE PRETENSES! WHY is our Congress so GUTLESS?

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    • chamuielComment by chamuiel
      August 2, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

      Leahy does not have a badge.

      seriously, now who is a dumb ox?

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      August 2, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

      I don’t know who are referring to a a “dumb ox”, but Leahy doesn’t need a badge. He is the chairman of a Senate committee that has oversight of a federal agency and he has subpoena power as well as the authority to use the “badges” of the FBI, the DC police, the U.S. Marshal Service, or any other badge he needs to have anyone arrested for lying to Congress under oath–perjury.

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    • my04301933Comment by my04301933
      August 2, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

      usafoldsarge
      bna42

      “Badge” is a term only…which was used to point out authority…
      … and the intent was to point out that “he was aware of things worthy of “perjury”…and did nothing..

      As a Democrat I reject his authority being misused, and “doing nothing in the face of knowing the truth”…is misuse…

      I think you both missed the point, and I don’t blame you as such…just I’m not surprised given I did use some big words which eluded you.

      I apologize,and further offer to use comments that are less complicated for you and more in keeping with you handle on literacy. It was my fault, and my oversight.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      August 2, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

      my04301933

      I never did have any use for a smartazz, but I know you have to be that way because you are a Democrat, so you should use your superior intellect to explain to your Democrats in Congress that “doing nothing in the face of knowing the truth”…is misuse…” Perhaps you should start with Harry “dead-on-arrival” Reid who has his nose so far up Obama’s backside he looks like a hemorrhoid.

      Just like most Democrats, you give the aura that you are so far above anyone else that we can’t understand your rhetoric, but you are only fooling yourself.

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  2. fabianComment by fabian
    August 2, 2013 @ 9:59 am

    Nothing surprising. They know they are listened to. On the other end, knowing they are listened to hinders their actions. The problem with this kind of policies is that it’s impossible to prove or disprove them. We need to trust those implementing them. That’s where I have a slight problem.

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  3. mvotano58Comment by mvotano58
    August 2, 2013 @ 10:30 am

    Funny thing I remember them just a couple of months ago saying the “enemy” would now know how we track them and we would not be able to gather intelligence on impending attacks because of it.

    Well can someone explain to me how it is they know that there is a threat to our embassies and they are all closed in the ME this weekend because of the “chatter” that states a very real threat against them. God what I really hate is when someone is peeing on my head and trying to convince me it’s raining.

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    • my04301933Comment by my04301933
      August 2, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

      …my point exactly…thank you

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    • oleteabagComment by oleteabag
      August 2, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

      Does it seem “highly coincidental” to anybody else that in the wake of this revelation, suddenly we have this “major Al Qaeda threat” (which I would be willing to BET they will claim was detected by this NSA phone monitoring program)?

      Somebody posted earlier that to be comfortable with this level of intrusion, there has to be TRUST in those doing the monitoring. I guess that is the problem, because Obama is a PROVEN liar, and I would not trust him OR the minions doing his bidding in the NSA ONE BIT.

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    • rzraickComment by rzraick
      August 2, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

      How gullible can we be? Consider the timing of everything in context. The military is fear mongering because they face possible budget cuts to their world wide imperial conquest. The Spies are exposing new threats which of course their spying has thwarted. Travel alerts are issued by Kerry because of unseen secret things which can not be revealed due to “National Security.”

      All this comes at a time when the national debate about government secrecy and whistle blowers is at the forefront.

      The government has been exposed, they are becoming desperate. I would be on the look out for a false flag op pretty soon.

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  4. dufferjamesComment by dufferjames
    August 2, 2013 @ 10:36 am

    Once is enough, remember 9-11

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    • oleteabagComment by oleteabag
      August 2, 2013 @ 4:33 pm

      Yes, but you notice they did not go into any detail about the terrorist plot that was “foiled”. It likely was NOT anywhere NEAR the scale of 9/11, number one, and number two, the way these people LIE, I would not be surprised if the TRUTH is that ZERO “terrorist plots” have been stopped by this massive data-gathering operation.

      At SOME point, we simply have to say ENOUGH. HOW much liberty are you willing to give up for whatever security is to be had from this bunch of LIARS?

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  5. bna42Comment by bna42
    August 2, 2013 @ 10:39 am

    “U.S. bulk phone records spying was key in stopping only one terror plot, not the dozens officials had said, a senior National Security Agency official conceded. . .Leahy questioned earlier testimony by NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander and other senior intelligence officials asserting the phone surveillance helped thwart 54 terrorist events.”

    WHY simply “question” the lie about 54 events foiled? Why not prosecute someone for lying under oath to Congress? NSA put out these lies and kept repeating them until their job was secured for another two years, and then the truth was revealed.

    The Congressional committees spend all this time and effort “investigating and questioning” yet there is never any action taken. All this does is deflect attention away from the other business Congress should be addressing. This administration has proven that it is filled with lying scheming thugs who need to be jailed.

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    • mvotano58Comment by mvotano58
      August 2, 2013 @ 11:05 am

      I’m waiting for the day when there is a rash of pants catching on fire on The Hill.

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    • goodshotComment by goodshot
      August 2, 2013 @ 10:44 pm

      We know how well these programs work. Hell remember the shrink at the fort in Texas that shot all of those people Nadal, I think his name is. He was in touch with several radical muslin gurus by phone, meetings and e/mail and they couldn’t foil his plan and he was right there under their noses. So we should feel secure the NSA is doing a great job. Hell couldn’t catch a terrorist in their own ranks
      But I don’t think I would hold my breath until you see some actions to punish any of those people because they are (lying) saying just what the boss wants them to say and aint no body gonna get their butt in a sling for that. Maybe a nice long leave of absence with pay till **** blows over but no legal actions.

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    • oleteabagComment by oleteabag
      August 2, 2013 @ 11:43 pm

      I remember it very well, goodshot. I also remember the Fort Hood shooter was not the ONLY would-be terrorist being advised and encouraged by that SAME guru–he’s an Imam or whatever the hell they call themselves at a big mosque–I am thinking he is in Detroit, but can’t recall for sure what city the mosque is in.

      But I have read that he has been implicated in NUMEROUS terrorist incidents by phone records that show those terrorists conversing with this guy, who is basically running a terrorist recruiting and training center in his mosque. The government KNOWS this from HIS phone records, and yet not only have they NOT prevented the terrorist attacks HE instigated, they don’t intervene at ALL, because it might interfere with his “religious freedom”. Of course they don’t mind interfering in the freedoms of OTHER religions–ESPECIALLY Christians.

      So much for how much they need this phone data sweeping operation to “keep us safe” and prevent terrorism. Since they apparently turn a blind eye to terrorism indicators when they SEE it in the phone records, WHY do they need the records at all?

      I am just so SICK of all this–and ESPECIALLY sick of our treasonous, lying President!

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  7. Jota_Comment by Jota_
    August 2, 2013 @ 11:16 am

    Find it just amazing the President has sealed nearly every record about him, making him the least known individual to ever occupy the office. When arguably, the individual whom occupies it we should know the most.

    Yet, he think no one else should be able to have any privacy, because, presumably, only he, Mr. Secret, knows how to keep anyone safe, and to never mind the double standard and hypocrisy, which says, what is good for him is bad for us.

    If we are not like him who is he representing, other than his own narcissistic view of himself?

    And for all the fearful who think we need to spy on each other, how about first taking responsibility for your own life and let others take care of their’s, without your constant meddling, which is really saying you need to control others lives because you have no control over your own, which comes from making government your god, which is nothing more than people and begs the question if you cannot trust them to take care of you, so that you need to spy on them, how does this make you feel safe to know you are protected by a bunch of people you cannot trust?

    It is sheer lunacy

    Abandon the whole thing, NOW

    And start showing a little intelligence, which is really what intelligence gathering is all about

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  8. oleteabagComment by oleteabag
    August 2, 2013 @ 11:49 am

    Obama LIED? Well, I’m just SHOCKED. That has never happened before . . . she said, with HEAVY sarcasm.

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    • goodshotComment by goodshot
      August 2, 2013 @ 10:58 pm

      All right oleteabag you are one step closer to Jackson / Sharpton paying you a visit.HeHe

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  9. sacheveraljames42Comment by sacheveraljames42
    August 3, 2013 @ 7:39 am

    When a fool like Leahy, an obstructionist, Democratic, left-wing operative can assert facts that discredit the lies about the effectiveness of the scurrilous actions of the NSA and the unconstitutional actions of this “phony” administration in spying on the American people, then we can be truly certain we have a lawless government, hellbent on subjecting everyone of us to the the harsh fist of oppression. And now we have the revelation that our own U S Postal service has been photographing our addressed envelopes in the slight chance they can catch some terrorist in our midst. Who the hell are these out of control government officials think they are? Goering? Goebbels? Stalin? We must demand accountability. Not just accepting a resignation or even a firing. I’m talking about jail or prison time. This administration can’t tell for certain how many illegals we have in this country and they think we’re dumb enough to believe that by violating our 4th Amendment rights they are going to catch El Saeed Sandman, the terrorist? Give me a fudge cookie! To any Senators or Representatives, we are going to hold you accountable, and I’m not talking about throwing you out of office, but as an accomplice to this despicable practice and possible incarceration for looking the other way. We’re sick and tired of having to watch everything you’re up to, like spoiled children. Better get with the citizens program or forget about any forgiveness for failing to do what is right. Is that plain enough for you?

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    • mvotano58Comment by mvotano58
      August 3, 2013 @ 10:35 am

      Well you know the Post Office is being raped of billions annually by the Feds. The USPS is not a government entity but since about 1996 (not sure could be 2006) they are forced (sounds like extortion to me) to give up 5 billion a year to the Feds whether they are losing money of not. Kind of messed up.

      My understanding of the “photographing” of mail is for OCR processing of letters and packages. It’s faster then people sorting the mail to use a scanner. My Post Office processes 25K pieces of mail a day so I can understand that. Of course with every good thing the government comes up with one can bet there is something nefarious really going on behind the scenes.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      August 3, 2013 @ 11:03 am

      mvotano, the Post Office is one of the oldest government entities. I don’t suppose you ever heard of the Pony Express?
      “The United States Postal Service (USPS), also known as the Post Office and U.S. Mail, is an independent agency of the United States federal government responsible for providing postal service in the United States. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution. The USPS traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, where Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. The cabinet-level Post Office Department was created in 1792 from Franklin’s operation and transformed into its current form in 1971 under the Postal Reorganization Act. . .In 2006 Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (which mandated $5.5 billion per year to be paid into an account to pre-fund retiree health-care, 75 years into the future.”

      Congress requires the Post Office to provide up-front funding of its retirement benefits, and that can hardly be described as “raping” the Post Office. ALL of these exorbitant pension and health care plans should be required to fund up front in order to avoid all these “unfunded liabilities” we hear so much about every day. IF you think the postal employees deserve health care for life, you should expect the post office to pay for it rather than waiting for the taxpayer to bail the program out when it becomes unsustainable.

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    • mvotano58Comment by mvotano58
      August 3, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

      No other entity does that.

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    • bna42Comment by bna42
      August 3, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

      “No other entity does that.”

      And that is exactly WHY all these other entities are reporting billions of “unfunded liabilities” such as pension funds, retirement accounts, and health care promises that they will expect the taxpayer to bail out later on down the road.

      But before you get too bent out of shape, remember that the post office has missed its most recent payments, they are already asking Congress to bail them out, but they have never mentioned changing the benefits package that has caused them to run such shortages. The postal workers union is just another example of why government employees should not be allowed to unionize.

      The taxpayer will be the only group “raped” when the post office can’t pay its exorbitant pensions and lifetime health care it has promised. But no one has tried to make any adjustments except eliminating mail delivery on Saturday or increasing the price of postage every few months. Why not tackle the source of the problem rather than making excuses?

      The post office has already seen its peak because technology such as email, fax, and instant messaging has made it obsolete. It will continue to go downhill because it IS a government agency and won’t address the real problems.

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