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> The first example was the case of Najibullah Zazi, who confessed to plotting to bomb the New York City subway system in 2009. Joyce confirmed that the NSA’s Internet surveillance program led officials to a suspect in Colorado who turned out to be Zazi. The FBI took the necessary legal steps to identify him and ultimately capture him, in concert with authorities in New York. Under Section 215's authority, Joyce said, the NSA was also able to nail down a “previously unknown [phone] number of one of the co-conspirators.”

> “Without the 702 tool, we would not have identified Najibullah Zazi,” Joyce said later in the hearing.

Okay, sounds pretty legit. His plea bargain was partly informed by threatening his parents[1], but it does sound like there was a lot of other evidence collected through traditional police methods.

> The second instance described was a thwarted plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange. Under Section 702's authority, the NSA monitored a known extremist in Yemen who was communicating with a man in Kansas City, Mo. This information led the FBI to Khalid Ouazzani, his co-conspirators and ultimately the plot to bomb the NYSE. Ouazzani ultimately confessed to sending money to al-Qaeda and was never convicted for the stock exchange plot.

Okay, so we... removed a small funding source of Al Queda? Maybe it's just me, but if I were trying to attack Al Queda's funding, I'd start with not having the CIA give them millions of dollars[2] before going the "surveil all Americans" route. For comparison, the CIA gave them $2 million in one payment[2], while Ouazzani gave them $23K[3]. The NSA yearly budget is ~$10 billion.[4] The NYC police budget was $5.6 billion in 2018[5] and they handled 295 homicide cases in 2018[6].

> The third instance cited by Joyce was the case of David Headley, an American in Chicago who aided the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. The FBI had received a tip about his involvement in the attacks when the NSA’s 702 surveillance also identified Headley as involved in a plot to bomb a Danish newspaper office that had published cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed that were considered offensive by some Muslims. “Headley later confessed to personally conducting surveillance of the Danish newspaper office,” Joyce said.

So basically, this guy was already going to be arrested for the 2008 Mumbai Terrorist Attacks, but due to surveillance they were able to also charge him for... surveiling. The irony is staggering.

> Regarding the final case, Joyce testified that data collection under Section 215 helped uncover terrorist activity that the FBI had been unable to detect previously. In 2007, the FBI closed an investigation it had launched shortly after Sept. 11, when it could not connect the subject of the investigation to terrorist activity. Years later, under its Section 215-sanctioned metadata collection program, the NSA identified a phone number in San Diego that was in contact with a known terrorist overseas. The NSA’s discovery allowed the FBI to reopen the investigation and disrupt the terrorist activity. Joyce later confirmed that the activity involved providing financial support to a designated terrorist group overseas.

This could not possibly be more vague.

Ostensibly, since the source is the NSA's PR team, these were the best cases the NSA could come up with? This sounds like a strong argument that the money should be better spent on traditional law enforcement.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Najibullah_Zazi#Guilty_plea

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/15/world/asia/cia-funds-foun...

[3] https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/kansascity/press-releases/...

[4] https://threatpost.com/nsa-metadata-program-likely-not-cost-...

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_Police_Departmen...

[6] [Excel File Warning] https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nypd/downloads/excel/analysis_an...




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