Did NSA Spying Actually Stop NYSE Plot?

Put this one down to a case of “just wondering”, but, hey, it’s not like The Government would ever lie about something, right?

(Wired)  Did the government really disrupt a bomb plot targeting the New York Stock Exchange?

The FBI deputy director said that today in a Spygate hearing where the government for the first time said the secret spy techniques publicly disclosed two weeks ago had halted some 50 terror attacks in 20 countries.

Sean Joyce, the bureau’s deputy director, identified Khalid Ouazzani as the culprit. “Ouazzani had been providing information and support to this plot,” Joyce testified to the House Select Committee on Intelligence.

According to interviews and court records, the 2008 plot failed, not because the authorities broke it up, but because the alleged attackers decided against it.

The Kansas City man’s attorney today said that Joyce’s comments were news to him. Among other things, his client pleaded guilty in 2010 to providing money — $23,000 in “material support” to Al-Qaida. He also pleaded to a count of money laundering and bank fraud, and is set for sentencing next month.

“Khalid Ouazzani was not involved in any plot to bomb the New York Stock Exchange,” Robin Fowler, the defendant’s defense attorney, said in a telephone interview.

We’ll obviously take the word of Ouazzani and his lawyer with a grain of salt, but, interestingly, he wasn’t actually charged with being involved in a terrorist plot. Techdirt noticed this same article, and also notes

As NSA apologists in the government seek to defend the NSA surveillance program, they keep talking about how critical it was to stopping “more than 50” terrorist operations. However, every time they’ve described any, the details have shown that the surveillance programs often had little to do with uncovering the plot, and were clearly not a key component of stopping anything. We already discussed the NYC subway bombing plot, which was discovered through other means. The other story initially raised, concerning David Headly was similarly found to be on shaky ground as well.

Interestingly, it was the current Obama supporters who were freaking out over the Bush administration keeping an eye on potential Islamist groups, along with proclaiming that Bush and Cheney themselves were listening to our calls and reading our emails. Yet, the program itself started late in the Bush time, and was significantly expanded during the Obama years. I have no problem with them obtaining warrants to surveille specific individuals and groups, and even getting blanket warrants to surveille non-citizens. Hoovering up all the meta-data of law abiding citizens is wrong.

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5 Responses to “Did NSA Spying Actually Stop NYSE Plot?”

  1. david7134 says:

    If any government programs did anything noteworthy, then you would have heard about it at the time and it would have been broadcast as loud as possible, witness the untimely death of old Bin.

    But what I don’t understand is why we can’t target Muslims. It does not make sense to grope everyone at the airport or to closely watch every American citizen and the sizable number of illegals when the terrorist that we are concerned with and have no respect for innocent people, are Muslim. So, profile, leave the rest of us alone. If they don’t, then they are going to need to watch our every move.

  2. But what I don’t understand is why we can’t target Muslims.

    Why would we do that? What did they ever do? You must be a racist and an Islamaphobe (that’s about as far as I can write in Liberal)

  3. john says:

    If they had charged him they would have had to reveal the NSA activity. That is most propbably th reason he was not charged Cheney keeps saying that he approved of the NSA. Mostly it is now teh GOP that is behind the NSA and the libs taht are against it

  4. proof says:

    They intercepted some suspicious phone activity around Ford’s Theater, and want to speak to John Wilkes Booth about some inflammatory emails…

  5. Good grief, John, you liberals always have excuses. But, remember, Cheney is no longer VP, Bush is no longer president. Obama, a Democrat (I feel that it is necessary to point that out for you) is POTUS. He supports this program. He expanded it from the Bush years. And, as to your last point, Blamestorming Republicans, it sure seems as if quite a few liberals are behind it.

    This is not a right/left issue, john, because there are plenty on both sides for/against. But, I have yet to see you take a position slamming the Obama admin for using and expanding he NSA programs. We all know that you would slam it if a Republican was in charge, but not if Obama is in charge. That makes you a hypocrite.

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