We already know that–this far–NSA mass surveillance has led to no convictions of any actual terrorists in a U.S. court of law.
Only 1.8 per cent of terrorist investigations in the U.S. are initiated after “NSA Bulk Collection under Section 215”. 4.4 per cent after “NSA Surveillance Targeting Non-U.S. Persons under Section 702”. And 1.3 per cent after “NSA Surveillance under an Unknown Authority”.
Most investigations are conducted after tips from community and families, informants or traditional human intelligence and police work.
The report states…
“Surveillance of American phone metadata has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism and only the most marginal of impacts on preventing terroristrelated activity, such as fundraising for a terrorist group.”
Obvious to all, this do not correspond with the picture the U.S. administration is trying to sell to the public.
And it confirms that more information from mass surveillance (a bigger haystack) only will make a system already under information overload to work even worse…
“Finally, the overall problem for U.S. counterterrorism officials is not that they need vaster amounts of information from the bulk surveillance programs, but that they don’t sufficiently understand or widely share the information they already possess that was derived from conventional law enforcement and intelligence techniques.”
So it seems that shifting resources from traditional (human) intelligence and law enforcement work to automated mass surveillance might make us all less safe from terrorists.
But then again, this is not about terrorism. It’s about power and control.