A new study from the New America Foundation of 225 terrorism cases concludes that the NSA’s cell phone metadata mining program has done nothing to prevent terrorism. In fact, only 4 times in all of those cases did the NSA use any authority under Section 215 of the Patriot Act at all.
An analysis of 225 terrorism cases inside the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has concluded that the bulk collection of phone records by the National Security Agency “has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.”
In the majority of cases, traditional law enforcement and investigative methods provided the tip or evidence to initiate the case, according to the study by the New America Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit group.
The study, to be released Monday, corroborates the findings of a White House-appointed review group, which said last month that the NSA counterterrorism program “was not essential to preventing attacks” and that much of the evidence it did turn up “could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional [court] orders.”
It will be very interesting to see what the Obama administration does with all of this. The commission that he created to study it has essentially said that the data mining programs are doing little to prevent terrorism and that they are prone to abuse and need stronger safeguards on them, but his administration has steadfastly defended those programs not only from the criticism of civil libertarians and experts but against any and all lawsuits filed against the abuses. My prediction: He does nothing, or proposes only surface-level changes that do little to nothing.