DEBUNKING The Bush and Obama Administrations’ Justification for Mass Surveillance
by George Washington
Preface: The Bush and Obama administrations both claimed that spying on Americans was justified by 9/11. Specifically, they said that they could have caught one of the 9/11 hijackers living in San Diego if they could have spied on phone calls on American soil.
However – as demonstrated below – that claim is totally false.
In defending the NSA’s sweeping collection of Americans’ phone call records, Obama administration officials have repeatedly pointed out how it could have helped thwart the 9/11 attacks: If only the surveillance program been in place before Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. authorities would have been able to identify one of the future hijackers who was living in San Diego [named Khalid al Mihdhar].
Last weekend, former Vice President Dick Cheney invoked the same argument.
Indeed, the Obama administration’s invocation of the Mihdhar case echoes a nearly identical argument made by the Bush administration eight years ago when it defended the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program.
The reality is different.