Internally quoting Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. - Greg Miller - Intelligence reporter for the Washington Post; former national security correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and co-author of The Interrogators: Inside the Secret War against al Qaeda - “In campaign against terrorism, U.S. enters period of pessimism and gloom” – Washington Post - March 7 - http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-campaign-against-terrorism-us-enters-period-of-pessimism-and-gloom/2015/03/07/ca980380-c1bc-11e4-ad5c-3b8ce89f1b89_story.html
In congressional testimony recently, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. went beyond the usual litany of threats to say that terrorism trend lines were worse “than at any other point in history.” Maj. Gen. Michael Nagata, commander of U.S. Special Operations forces in the Middle East, told participants on a counterterrorism strategy call that he regarded the Islamic State as a greater menace than al-Qaeda ever was. Speaking at a New York police terrorism conference, Michael Morell, former deputy director of the CIA, said he had come to doubt that he would live to see the end of al-Qaeda and its spawn. “This is long term,” he said. “My children’s generation and my grandchildren’s generation will still be fighting this fight.” The assessments reflect a pessimism that has descended on the U.S. counterterrorism community over the past year amid a series of discouraging developments. Among them are the growth of the Islamic State, the ongoing influx of foreign fighters into Syria, the collapse of the U.S.-backed government in Yemen and the downward spiral of Libya’s security situation. The latest complication came Saturday, when the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria carried out a series of suicide bombings and reportedly declared its allegiance to the Islamic State. Unlike the waves of anxiety that accompanied the emergence of new terrorist plots over the past decade, the latest shift in mood seems more deep-seated. U.S. officials depict a bewildering landscape in which al-Qaeda and the brand of Islamist militancy it inspired have not only survived 14 years of intense counterterrorism operations but have also spread. Officials emphasize that their campaign has accomplished critical goals. In particular, most officials and experts now see the risk of a Sept. 11-scale attack as infinitesimal, beyond the reach of al-Qaeda and its scattered affiliates. Still, the adjusted outlook contrasts sharply with the surge of optimism that followed the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011 and the dawn of the Arab Spring, which was initially seen as a political awakening across the Middle East that might render al-Qaeda and its archaic ideology irrelevant. Within months of bin Laden’s death, then-Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said he was convinced “that we’re within reach of strategically defeating al-Qaeda.” President Obama echoed that view in subsequent years by saying that al-Qaeda was on “a path to defeat” and, more recently, that the then-nascent Islamic State was analogous to a junior varsity sports team. Such upbeat characterizations have all but evaporated.
Targeted and narrow alternatives solve their link.
(et al; This amicus brief issued by three US Senators - Ron Wyden, Mark Udall and Martin Heinrich. Wyden and Udall sat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and had access to the meta-data program. “BRIEF FOR AMICI CURIAE SENATOR RON WYDEN, SENATOR MARK UDALL, AND SENATOR MARTIN HEINRICH IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT, URGING REVERSAL OF THE DISTRICT COURT” – Amicus Brief for Smith v. Obama – before the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals - Appeal from the United States District Court District of Idaho The Honorable B. Lynn Winmill, Chief District Judge, Presiding Case No. 2:13-cv-00257-BLW – Sept 9th, 2014 – This Amicus Brief was prepared by CHARLES S. SIMS from the law firm PROSKAUER ROSE LLP. Continues to Footnote #6 – no text omitted. Amici” means “friend of the court” and – in this context - is legal reference to Wyden, Udall, etc. This pdf can be obtained at: https://www.eff.org/document/wyden-udall-heinrich-smith-amicus)
The government possesses a number of legal authorities with which it may obtain the call records of suspected terrorists and those in contact with suspected terrorists. Amici have consistently argued that the bulk phone-records program needlessly tramples on Americans’ privacy rights, particularly in light of the authorities available to the government that can also be used to acquire call records of suspected terrorists and those in contact with suspected terrorists in a targeted manner. See Press Release, Sen. Martin Heinrich, Udall, Heinrich Back Effort To End Dragnet Collection of Phone Data & Add Meaningful Oversight of Surveillance Programs (Oct. 29, 2013), http://1.usa.gov/182XcHE; Press Release, Sen. Mark Udall, Surveillance Reform Package Ends Bulk Collection of Phone Records, Creates Constitutional Advocate for Secret Court (Sept. 25, 2013), http://1.usa.gov/1bBGLku (“Udall Reform Release”). Even the valid claims by intelligence officials about certain useful information obtained through the bulk phone-records program fail to explain why the government could not have simply obtained this information directly from phone companies using more calibrated legal instruments. A number of legal authorities would have allowed the government to do so. For example, the Stored Communications Act permits the government to obtain precisely the same call records that are now acquired through bulk collection under section 215 when they are “relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.” 18 U.S.C. § 2703 (d). Individualized orders for phone records, as opposed to orders authorizing bulk collection, can also be obtained under section 215. 50 U.S.C. § 1861. National security letters, which do not require a court order, can also be used by the government to obtain call records for intelligence purposes. See 18 U.S.C. § 2709. The government can also acquire telephony metadata on a real-time basis by obtaining orders from either regular federal courts or the FISC for the installation of pen registers or trap-and-trace devices. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 3122, 3125; 50 U.S.C. § 1842. And the government may also seek call records using standard criminal warrants based on probable cause. See 18 U.S.C. § 2703 (c)(A); Fed. R. Crim. P. 17(c). The government can use many of these authorities without any more evidence than what is currently required to use the bulk phone-records database, with less impact on the privacy interests of innocent Americans.
Our HumInt Advantage is a massive link turn
decimates effective counter-terrorism — data mining is the wrong tool.
Schneier 15 — Bruce Schneier, Chief Technology Officer for Counterpane Internet Security, Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, Program Fellow at the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, Board Member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Advisory Board Member of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, 2015 (“Why Mass Surveillance Can't, Won't, And Never Has Stopped A Terrorist,” Digg — excerpt from Data and Goliath, March 24th, Available Online at https://digg.com/2015/why-mass-surveillance-cant-wont-and-never-has-stopped-a-terrorist, Accessed 07-12-2015)
The NSA repeatedly uses a connect-the-dots metaphor to justify its surveillance activities. Again and again — after 9/11, after the Underwear Bomber, after the Boston Marathon bombings — government is criticized for not connecting the dots.
However, this is a terribly misleading metaphor. Connecting the dots in a coloring book is easy, because they’re all numbered and visible. In real life, the dots can only be recognized after the fact.
That doesn’t stop us from demanding to know why the authorities couldn’t connect the dots. The warning signs left by the Fort Hood shooter, the Boston Marathon bombers, and the Isla Vista shooter look obvious in hindsight. Nassim Taleb, an expert on risk engineering, calls this tendency the “narrative fallacy.” Humans are natural storytellers, and the world of stories is much more tidy, predictable, and coherent than reality. Millions of people behave strangely enough to attract the FBI’s notice, and almost all of them are harmless. The TSA’s no-fly list has over 20,000 people on it. The Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, also known as the watch list, has 680,000, 40% of whom have “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.”
Data mining is offered as the technique that will enable us to connect those dots. But while corporations are successfully mining our personal data in order to target advertising, detect financial fraud, and perform other tasks, three critical issues make data mining an inappropriate tool for finding terrorists.
The first, and most important, issue is error rates. For advertising, data mining can be successful even with a large error rate, but finding terrorists requires a much higher degree of accuracy than data-mining systems can possibly provide.
Data mining works best when you’re searching for a well-defined profile, when there are a reasonable number of events per year, and when the cost of false alarms is low. Detecting credit card fraud is one of data mining’s security success stories: all credit card companies mine their transaction databases for spending patterns that indicate a stolen card. There are over a billion active credit cards in circulation in the United States, and nearly 8% of those are fraudulently used each year. Many credit card thefts share a pattern — purchases in locations not normally frequented by the cardholder, and purchases of travel, luxury goods, and easily fenced items — and in many cases data-mining systems can minimize the losses by preventing fraudulent transactions. The only cost of a false alarm is a phone call to the cardholder asking her to verify a couple of her purchases.
Similarly, the IRS uses data mining to identify tax evaders, the police use it to predict crime hot spots, and banks use it to predict loan defaults. These applications have had mixed success, based on the data and the application, but they’re all within the scope of what data mining can accomplish.
Terrorist plots are different, mostly because whereas fraud is common, terrorist attacks are very rare. This means that even highly accurate terrorism prediction systems will be so flooded with false alarms that they will be useless.
The reason lies in the mathematics of detection. All detection systems have errors, and system designers can tune them to minimize either false positives or false negatives. In a terrorist-detection system, a false positive occurs when the system mistakenly identifies something harmless as a threat. A false negative occurs when the system misses an actual attack. Depending on how you “tune” your detection system, you can increase the number of false positives to assure you are less likely to miss an attack, or you can reduce the number of false positives at the expense of missing attacks.
Because terrorist attacks are so rare, false positives completely overwhelm the system, no matter how well you tune. And I mean completely: millions of people will be falsely accused for every real terrorist plot the system finds, if it ever finds any.
We might be able to deal with all of the innocents being flagged by the system if the cost of false positives were minor. Think about the full-body scanners at airports. Those alert all the time when scanning people. But a TSA officer can easily check for a false alarm with a simple pat-down. This doesn’t work for a more general data-based terrorism-detection system. Each alert requires a lengthy investigation to determine whether it’s real or not. That takes time and money, and prevents intelligence officers from doing other productive work. Or, more pithily, when you’re watching everything, you’re not seeing anything.
The US intelligence community also likens finding a terrorist plot to looking for a needle in a haystack. And, as former NSA director General Keith Alexander said, “you need the haystack to find the needle.” That statement perfectly illustrates the problem with mass surveillance and bulk collection. When you’re looking for the needle, the last thing you want to do is pile lots more hay on it. More specifically, there is no scientific rationale for believing that adding irrelevant data about innocent people makes it easier to find a terrorist attack, and lots of evidence that it does not. You might be adding slightly more signal, but you’re also adding much more noise. And despite the NSA’s “collect it all” mentality, its own documents bear this out. The military intelligence community even talks about the problem of “drinking from a fire hose”: having so much irrelevant data that it’s impossible to find the important bits.
We saw this problem with the NSA’s eavesdropping program: the false positives overwhelmed the system. In the years after 9/11, the NSA passed to the FBI thousands of tips per month; every one of them turned out to be a false alarm. The cost was enormous, and ended up frustrating the FBI agents who were obligated to investigate all the tips. We also saw this with the Suspicious Activity Reports —or SAR — database: tens of thousands of reports, and no actual results. And all the telephone metadata the NSA collected led to just one success: the conviction of a taxi driver who sent $8,500 to a Somali group that posed no direct threat to the US — and that was probably trumped up so the NSA would have better talking points in front of Congress.
The second problem with using data-mining techniques to try to uncover terrorist plots is that each attack is unique. Who would have guessed that two pressure-cooker bombs would be delivered to the Boston Marathon finish line in backpacks by a Boston college kid and his older brother? Each rare individual who carries out a terrorist attack will have a disproportionate impact on the criteria used to decide who’s a likely terrorist, leading to ineffective detection strategies.
The third problem is that the people the NSA is trying to find are wily, and they’re trying to avoid detection. In the world of personalized marketing, the typical surveillance subject isn’t trying to hide his activities. That is not true in a police or national security context. An adversarial relationship makes the problem much harder, and means that most commercial big data analysis tools just don’t work. A commercial tool can simply ignore people trying to hide and assume benign behavior on the part of everyone else. Government data-mining techniques can’t do that, because those are the very people they’re looking for.
Adversaries vary in the sophistication of their ability to avoid surveillance. Most criminals and terrorists — and political dissidents, sad to say — are pretty unsavvy and make lots of mistakes. But that’s no justification for data mining; targeted surveillance could potentially identify them just as well. The question is whether mass surveillance performs sufficiently better than targeted surveillance to justify its extremely high costs. Several analyses of all the NSA’s efforts indicate that it does not.
The three problems listed above cannot be fixed. Data mining is simply the wrong tool for this job, which means that all the mass surveillance required to feed it cannot be justified. When he was NSA director, General Keith Alexander argued that ubiquitous surveillance would have enabled the NSA to prevent 9/11. That seems unlikely. He wasn’t able to prevent the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, even though one of the bombers was on the terrorist watch list and both had sloppy social media trails — and this was after a dozen post-9/11 years of honing techniques. The NSA collected data on the Tsarnaevs before the bombing, but hadn’t realized that it was more important than the data they collected on millions of other people.
This point was made in the 9/11 Commission Report. That report described a failure to “connect the dots,” which proponents of mass surveillance claim requires collection of more data. But what the report actually said was that the intelligence community had all the information about the plot without mass surveillance, and that the failures were the result of inadequate analysis.
Mass surveillance didn’t catch underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in 2006, even though his father had repeatedly warned the U.S. government that he was dangerous. And the liquid bombers (they’re the reason governments prohibit passengers from bringing large bottles of liquids, creams, and gels on airplanes in their carry-on luggage) were captured in 2006 in their London apartment not due to mass surveillance but through traditional investigative police work. Whenever we learn about an NSA success, it invariably comes from targeted surveillance rather than from mass surveillance. One analysis showed that the FBI identifies potential terrorist plots from reports of suspicious activity, reports of plots, and investigations of other, unrelated, crimes.
This is a critical point. Ubiquitous surveillance and data mining are not suitable tools for finding dedicated criminals or terrorists. We taxpayers are wasting billions on mass-surveillance programs, and not getting the security we’ve been promised. More importantly, the money we’re wasting on these ineffective surveillance programs is not being spent on investigation, intelligence, and emergency response: tactics that have been proven to work. The NSA's surveillance efforts have actually made us less secure.
( ) Turn – Arab-American coop:
mass surveillance kills law enforcement coop with US-Arab Americans – that’s key to check terror.
(Internally quoting Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow on foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. Tom Risen is a reporter for U.S. News & World Report. “Racial Profiling Reported in NSA, FBI Surveillance” - U.S. News & World Report - July 9, 2014 - http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/07/09/racial-profiling-reported-in-nsa-fbi-surveillance)
The National Security Agency and the FBI have reportedly been overzealous trying to prevent terrorist attacks to the point that anti-Islamic racism in those agencies led to the surveillance of prominent Muslim-Americans, revealing a culture of racial profiling and broad latitude for spying on U.S. citizens. An NSA document leaked by former agency contractor Edward Snowden to reporter Glenn Greenwald shows 202 Americans targeted among the approximately 7,485 email addresses monitored between 2002 and 2008, Greenwald’s news service The Intercept reports. To monitor Americans, government agencies must first make the case to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that there is probable cause that the targets are terrorist agents, foreign spies or “are or may be” abetting sabotage, espionage or terrorism. Despite this filter The Intercept identified five Muslim-Americans with high public profile including civil rights leaders, academics, lawyers and a political candidate. Racial profiling of Muslims by security officers has been a controversy since the terrorist attacks of 2001 spiked fears about al-Qaida trainees preparing more attacks. The New York Police Department has disbanded its unit that mapped New York’s Muslim communities that designated surveillance of mosques as “terrorism enterprise investigations” after pressure from the Justice Department about aggressive monitoring by police. A 2005 FBI memo about surveillance procedures featured in The Intercept story uses a fake name “Mohammed Raghead” for the agency staff exercise. This latest report about email surveillance of successful Muslim-Americans is akin to “McCarthyism” that fed paranoia about communist spies during the Cold War, says Reza Aslan, a professor at the University of California, Riverside. “The notion that these five upstanding American citizens, all of them prominent public individuals, represent a threat to the U.S. for no other reason than their religion is an embarrassment to the FBI and an affront to the constitution,” Aslan says. There is a risk of radicalization among citizens Americans, evidenced by some who have gone to fight jihads in Syria and Somalia, but mass shootings carried out by U.S. citizens of various racial backgrounds occurs much more often, says Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow on foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. Since 1982, there have been at least 70 mass shootings across the U.S. “We have seen very little domestic terrorism in the U.S.,” Felbab-Brown says. This lack of terrorism is due in part to the willingness of the Islamic community to cooperate with law enforcement to identify possible radical threats, out of gratitude that the U.S. is a stable, secure country compared with the Middle East, she says. “That could go sour if law enforcement becomes too aggressive, too extreme,” she says.
The turn’s unique – relations are low now. We also control the vital internal link:
(et al; Deborah A. Ramirez, Professor of Law at Northeastern University. She holds a JD from Harvard University, "Developing partnerships between law enforcement and American Muslim, Arab, and Sikh communities: a promising practices guide" (2004). Partnering for Prevention & Community Safety Initiative Publications. Paper 4. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20004127)
For all these reasons, in a post-September 11th world, it is critical for law enforcement and the Muslim, Arab, and Sikh communities in this country to strengthen their relationships. Historically, these relationships have not existed in any significant way. Prior to September 11th, law enforcement primarily focused their community policing efforts on other communities of color – Latinos, Asians, African-Americans, etc. Similarly, hate crime enforcement efforts mostly focused on crimes against the gay community, Jews, Latinos, Asians and African-Americans. Consequently few state, local or federal law enforcement agencies had any significant contact with the Arab, Muslim, or Sikh communities prior to September of 2001. It is the premise of the Partnering for Prevention and Community Safety Initiative that Americans will only truly be safe from terrorist attacks when law enforcement agencies adopts a strategy focused on building trust and strengthening relationships with the Muslim, Arab, and Sikh communities. This paradigm is not only more consistent with our constitutional ideals, it also represents our best hope for securing our homeland.
The 54 number has been thoroughly discredited. So has “it stopped 9/11.”
Cohn 14 — Cindy Cohn, Executive Director and former Legal Director and General Counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, and Nadia Kayyali, Activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, holds a J.D. from the University of California-Hastings, 2014 (“The Top 5 Claims That Defenders of the NSA Have to Stop Making to Remain Credible,” Electronic Frontier Foundation, June 2nd, Available Online at https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/06/top-5-claims-defenders-nsa-have-stop-making-remain-credible, Accessed 07-12-2015)
1. The NSA has Stopped 54 Terrorist Attacks with Mass Spying
The discredited claim
NSA defenders have thrown out many claims about how NSA surveillance has protected us from terrorists, including repeatedly declaring that it has thwarted 54 plots. Rep. Mike Rogers says it often. Only weeks after the first Snowden leak, US President Barack Obama claimed: “We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted” because of the NSA’s spy powers. Former NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander also repeatedly claimed that those programs thwarted 54 different attacks.
Others, including former Vice President Dick Cheney have claimed that had the bulk spying programs in place, the government could have stopped the 9/11 bombings, specifically noting that the government needed the program to locate Khalid al Mihdhar, a hijacker who was living in San Diego.
Why it’s not credible:
These claims have been thoroughly debunked. First, the claim that the information stopped 54 terrorist plots fell completely apart. In dramatic Congressional testimony, Sen. Leahy forced a formal retraction from NSA Director Alexander in October, 2013:
"Would you agree that the 54 cases that keep getting cited by the administration were not all plots, and of the 54, only 13 had some nexus to the U.S.?" Leahy said at the hearing. "Would you agree with that, yes or no?"
"Yes," Alexander replied, without elaborating.
But that didn’t stop the apologists. We keep hearing the “54 plots” line to this day.
As for 9/11, sadly, the same is true. The government did not need additional mass collection capabilities, like the mass phone records programs, to find al Mihdhar in San Diego. As ProPublica noted, quoting Bob Graham, the former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee:
U.S. intelligence agencies knew the identity of the hijacker in question, Saudi national Khalid al Mihdhar, long before 9/11 and had the ability find him, but they failed to do so.
"There were plenty of opportunities without having to rely on this metadata system for the FBI and intelligence agencies to have located Mihdhar," says former Senator Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who extensively investigated 9/11 as chairman of the Senate’s intelligence committee.
Moreover, Peter Bergen and a team at the New America Foundation dug into the government’s claims about plots in America, including studying over 225 individuals recruited by al Qaeda and similar groups in the United States and charged with terrorism, and concluded:
Our review of the government’s claims about the role that NSA "bulk" surveillance of phone and email communications records has had in keeping the United States safe from terrorism shows that these claims are overblown and even misleading...
When backed into a corner, the government’s apologists cite the capture of Zazi, the so-called New York subway bomber. However, in that case, the Associated Press reported that the government could have easily stopped the plot without the NSA program, under authorities that comply with the Constitution. Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall have been saying this for a long time.
Both of the President’s hand-picked advisors on mass surveillance concur about the telephone records collection. The President’s Review Board issued a report in which it stated “the information contributed to terrorist investigations by the use of section 215 telephony meta-data was not essential to preventing attacks,” The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) also issued a report in which it stated, “we have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which [bulk collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act] made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation.”
And in an amicus brief in EFF’s case First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. the NSA case, Sens. Ron Wyden, Mark Udall, and Martin Heinrich stated that, while the administration has claimed that bulk collection is necessary to prevent terrorism, they “have reviewed the bulk-collection program extensively, and none of the claims appears to hold up to scrutiny.”
Even former top NSA official John Inglis admitted that the phone records program has not stopped any terrorist attacks aimed at the US and at most, helped catch one guy who shipped about $8,000 to a Somalian group that the US has designated as a terrorist group but that has never even remotely been involved in any attacks aimed at the US.
( ) Bioterror risk is low and wouldn’t kill many people anyway.
(Rebecca, 7 March 2013, Analyst at Stratfor, “Bioterrorism and the Pandemic Potential,” Stratfor, http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/bioterrorism-and-pandemic-potential)
The risk of an accidental release of H5N1 is similar to that of other infectious pathogens currently being studied. Proper safety standards are key, of course, and experts in the field have had a year to determine the best way to proceed, balancing safety and research benefits. Previous work with the virus was conducted at biosafety level three out of four, which requires researchers wearing respirators and disposable gowns to work in pairs in a negative pressure environment. While many of these labs are part of universities, access is controlled either through keyed entry or even palm scanners. There are roughly 40 labs that submitted to the voluntary ban. Those wishing to resume work after the ban was lifted must comply with guidelines requiring strict national oversight and close communication and collaboration with national authorities. The risk of release either through accident or theft cannot be completely eliminated, but given the established parameters the risk is minimal. The use of the pathogen as a biological weapon requires an assessment of whether a non-state actor would have the capabilities to isolate the virulent strain, then weaponize and distribute it. Stratfor has long held the position that while terrorist organizations may have rudimentary capabilities regarding biological weapons, the likelihood of a successful attack is very low. Given that the laboratory version of H5N1 -- or any influenza virus, for that matter -- is a contagious pathogen, there would be two possible modes that a non-state actor would have to instigate an attack. The virus could be refined and then aerosolized and released into a populated area, or an individual could be infected with the virus and sent to freely circulate within a population. There are severe constraints that make success using either of these methods unlikely. The technology needed to refine and aerosolize a pathogen for a biological attack is beyond the capability of most non-state actors. Even if they were able to develop a weapon, other factors such as wind patterns and humidity can render an attack ineffective. Using a human carrier is a less expensive method, but it requires that the biological agent be a contagion. Additionally, in order to infect the large number of people necessary to start an outbreak, the infected carrier must be mobile while contagious, something that is doubtful with a serious disease like small pox. The carrier also cannot be visibly ill because that would limit the necessary human contact.
Doesn’t turn case – durable fiat solves