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Iran Press TV

NSA role minimal in fighting terrorism: Study

Iran Press TV

Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:36AM GMT

The National Security Agency's massive data collection has barely helped the United States thwart terrorist attacks, according to a new study by the New American Foundation.

An analysis of 225 terrorism cases in the US since the 9/11 attacks shows the NSA surveillance program "has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism."

The contribution of NSA surveillance programs in the majority of cases was minimal and that it was conventional police and investigative methods that provided assistance or evidence to initiate a case, the Washington-based nonprofit group has found.

On the contrary, the controversial "metadata" collection appears to have played a role in initiating, at most, 1.8 percent of these cases, the study noted.

"Our examination of the role of the database of US citizens' telephone metadata in the single plot the government uses to justify the importance of the program …calls into question the necessity of the Section 215 bulk collection program," the study's authors said.

NSA programs involving the surveillance of other nationals outside of the United States played a role in 4.4 percent of the terrorism cases, and NSA surveillance under an unidentified authority played a role in 1.3 percent of the cases, according to the analysis.

Even a review of three of the key terrorism cases shows that the government exaggerated the role the NSA played in helping with each case.

The study concludes that the overall problem with US counterterrorism program is not a lack of data but rather a lack of sufficient understating of the information officials obtain from either traditional law enforcement or intelligence techniques.


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