Global dragnet surveillance by the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies did nothing to stop three Al Qaeda-linked gunmen from shooting 12 people dead at the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Despite this, former CIA and NSA head Michael Hayden wasted no time in pointing fingers Wednesday, telling supporters of the U.S. Constitution to be “sensitive” in their calls for government transparency and accountability.
“Privacy advocates now need to be sensitive that governments that lack power to defend us end up costing us our liberties in addition to our securities,” Hayden told Newsmax TV.
Hayden’s comment hints at the false claim that the NSA is “going dark,” when in reality the agency continues to grow at an exponential rate.
Other proponents of unwarranted surveillance latched onto the opportunity as well in an attempt to dismiss the need for intelligence oversight.
“I fear our intelligence capabilities, those designed to prevent such an attack from taking place on our shores, are quickly eroding,” Republic Senator Lindsey Graham said. “I believe our national security infrastructure designed to prevent these types of attacks from occurring is under siege.”
Senator John McCain made similar claims, arguing that the agency needed increased funding to protect the American public.
“I know that the NSA has been thwarted in their capabilities because of sequestration,” McCain said. “They have not been able to do many of the things they have wanted to do because of the impact of sequestration.”
According to multiple NSA whistleblowers, ubiquitous surveillance in fact does the complete opposite, diminishing the ability of intelligence agencies to properly focus in on actual terrorism suspects.
Edward Snowden openly discussed this very issue during an interview with NBC last May, although his comments were conveniently archived online and excluded from the prime time airing.
‘If we’re missing things like the Boston Marathon bombings where all of these mass-surveillance systems, every domestic dragnet in the world, didn’t reveal guys that the Russian intelligence service told us about by name, is that really the best way to protect our country or are we trying to throw money at a magic solution that’s actually not just costing us our safety, but our rights and our way of life?” Snowden said.
The NSA was also one of countless government agencies that ignored literal mountains of information regarding the 9/11 attacks.
Thomas Drake, former NSA senior executive turned whistleblower, has repeatedly commented on NSA intelligence that would have “undoubtedly” stopped the 9/11 attacks.
“The NSA had critical intelligence about Al Qaeda and associated movements in particular that had never been properly shared outside of NSA,” Drake said. “They simply did not share critical intelligence although they had it.”
While broad surveillance clearly hinders accurate pinpointing of legitimate threats, the main issue lies in the fact that the NSA is not actually focused on terrorism, but instead on innocent Americans and economic espionage.
Former NSA technical director William Binney, who blew the whistle on illegal domestic surveillance after more than 36 years at the agency, has long warned of NSA’s actual intentions.
“It’s being used to set up the way and means to control the population,” Binney said during a December interview on the Alex Jones Show. “I’ve been referring to it as the new Stasi agency because that’s exactly what the Stasi did, they had files on everyone…”
Ignoring the fact that unchecked government is historically the greatest danger to human life, a total surveillance society would never be able to stop all crime regardless, but would instead destroy liberty itself.