Okay, James Clapper did not really testify that jillions of terrorist attacks were stopped by the military’s PRISM and telephone electronic surveillance dragnets targeted against Americans, but he might as well have.
Clapper, the director of the military’s National Security Agency, told members of the U.S. Senate that his organization’s electronic surveillance dragnet had stopped “dozens” of attacks against the USA by nasty terrorists bent on bloody murder. The truth, however, is rather less dramatic.
Actually, the Obama Administration has only identified two cases in which the NSA’s unconstitutional spying is supposed to have contributed to thwarting terrorist attacks. What’s more, in those two cases, the NSA surveillance system played only a backup role. It was conventional, legal, constitutional intelligence methods that identified and blocked those attempted terrorist attacks. The NSA spying wasn’t necessary in these cases.
James Clapper knows that, as long as his electronic spying system is classified, he can make whatever claims of success he likes. Who’s going to try to verify his claims, after all? No one is conducting real oversight. The justifications for the massive daily violation of Americans’ constitutional rights are themselves top secret.
Of course, we don’t have to believe Clapper. We have no reason to. From what we know, it seems clear that James Clapper and his military friends have trashed the U.S. Constitution and given us, in return, an ineffectual security tool.