Friday, February 03, 2006

You Can't Argue With Results 

Courtesy of our venerated colleague Susie Madrak: President Bush's decision to shitcan the Fourth Amendment and the federal statutes against domestic spying has not, over the course of five years, resulted in the discovery or arrest of any actual terrorists, but it has reportedly turned up a couple of darned promising leads that might pay off one day, maybe. Hey! You can't prove they won't!
The National Security Agency's secret domestic spying hasn't nabbed any Al Qaeda agents in the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress yesterday.

Mueller told the Senate Intelligence Committee that his agents get "a number of leads from the NSA," but he made it clear Osama Bin Laden's henchmen weren't at the end of the trail.

"I can say leads from that program have been valuable in identifying would-be terrorists in the United States, individuals who were providing material support to terrorists," Mueller testified.

His assessment of the controversial NSA snooping appeared to undercut a key claim by President Bush. As recently as Wednesday, Bush defended bypassing courts in domestic spying by insisting that "one of the people making the call has to be Al Qaeda, suspected Al Qaeda and/or affiliate."
At the hearing, Sen. Pat Roberts predictably trotted out the case of Iyman Faris, the engineering wunderkind who plotted to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch. A U.S. counterterrorism official later explained that the warrantless spying program had nothing to do with the capture of Faris, although he did give the authorities a few hot tips that led to some warrantless spying.

And that warrantless spying led, in its turn, to . . . well, no arrests. Yet.

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