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A report from the New America Foundation says that bulk surveillance of phones and emails by the National Security Agency (NSA) does not heavily contribute to terrorism prevention.
The report says claims by the government that suggested the usefulness of the data were “overblown and even misleading,” PBS reports.
For the report, the NAF conducted an analysis of 225 individuals “recruited by (al-Qaida) or a like-minded group or inspired by (al-Qaida’s) ideology” and charged in the U.S. with an act of terrorism post-Sept. 11. NSA surveillance contributions to initial investigations were minimal, the report states.
American telephone metadata was only found to have played a role in initiating 1.8 percent of investigations, with a total contribution from NSA surveillance to investigations coming to 7.5 percent of cases. Traditional investigative methods (informants, community tips, targeted intelligence) provided 59.6 percent of impetus for those investigations, the report states.
You can read the full report, Do NSA’s Bulk Surveillance Programs Stop Terrorists?, here.