‘Most PSP Leads Were Determined Not to Have Any Connection to Terrorism’

By
Friday, July 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm

The Bush administration called its warrantless surveillance efforts “very, very important to protect the national security of this country,” in the words of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in 2005. Today’s inspectors general report on the President’s Surveillance Program doesn’t really substantiate that assessment. “[M]ost PSP leads were determined not to have any connection to terrorism,” according to the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Former Bush administration officials gave the generic statement that the PSP was “of value,” to quote FBI Director Robert Mueller’s rather conspicuously understated judgment. But there’s no evidence given in the report about valuable contributions that the PSP uniquely provided to the counterterrorism fight, even when conceding that most of that stuff is classified.

For instance, here’s the Justice Department inspector general’s assessment:

Even though most PSP leads were determined not to have any connection to terrorism, many of the FBI witnesses believed the mere possibility of the leads producing useful information made investigating the leads worthwhile.

However, the DOJ [inspector general] also found that the exceptionally compartmented nature of the program created some frustration for FBI personnel. Some agents and analysts criticized the PSP-derived information they received for providing insufficient details, and the agents who managed counterterrorism programs at the FBI field offices the DOJ [inspector general] visited said the FBI’s process for disseminating PSP-derived information failed to adquately prioritize the information for investigation.

So: diligence on a wild goose chase. I guess that’s something. What was the value added for the National Security Agency?

In May 2009 [former NSA and CIA director] told NSA [inspector general] that the value of the Program was in knowing the NSA signals intelligence activities under the PSP covered an important ‘quadrant’ of terrorist communications. NSA’s Deputy Director echoed Hayden’s comment when he said that the value of the PSP was in the confidence it provided that someone was looking at the seam between the foreign and domestic intelligence domains.

Again: value in checking boxes, but no value in, like, stopping terrorism. What about CIA?

The CIA [inspector general] determined that the CIA did not implement procedures to assess the usefulness of the product of the PSP and did not routinely document whether PSP reporting had contributed to successful counterterrorism operations. CIA officials, including Hayden, told the CIA [inspector general] that PSP reporting was used in conjunction with reporting from other intelligence sources; consequently, it is difficult to attribute the success of particular counterterrorism case exclusively to the PSP.

For this the Bush administration violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and then gutted it, with the help of a Democratic Congress.

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Comments

20 Comments

Still Writing This Chapter of Bush II - MEME ORANDUM
Pingback posted July 10, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

[...] finding in the report: most leads secured by the secret surveillance program were determined not to have any connection to terrorism and — surprise!–then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ July 2007 testimony to [...]


Still Writing This Chapter of Bush II | Design Website
Pingback posted July 10, 2009 @ 6:49 pm

[...] finding in the report: most leads secured by the secret surveillance program were determined not to have any connection to terrorism and — surprise!–then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ July 2007 testimony to [...]


Wiretapping Report Released | Design Website
Pingback posted July 10, 2009 @ 8:45 pm

[...] about the effectiveness of the surveillance programs to keeping America safe. Here’s what Spencer pulls out from the Justice IG. Even though most PSP leads were determined not to have any [...]


Wiretapping Report Released | News Fu
Pingback posted July 10, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

[...] about the effectiveness of the surveillance programs to keeping America safe. Here’s what Spencer pulls out from the Justice IG. Even though most PSP leads were determined not to have any [...]


strangely_enough
Comment posted July 10, 2009 @ 9:08 pm

So, the value of the “PSP” was simply that it existed?
Mr. Orwell, meet Mr. Carroll.


teddysanfran
Comment posted July 10, 2009 @ 10:17 pm

Is the DoJ IG saying “it keeps our lads in good practice?”

Because that's what it sounds like. And, yes, Hayden is a box-checker. He can always point to his checked boxes. Because it's unchecked boxes that let 911 happen.


Henk_sg
Comment posted July 10, 2009 @ 10:22 pm

It may not have had value in fighting terrorism, but I am sure that Dick Chenney found lots and lots of value in information gathered on political opponents. No doubt he's still finding value there.


Wiretapping Report Released | Design Website Easy
Pingback posted July 11, 2009 @ 7:21 am

[...] about the effectiveness of the surveillance programs to keeping America safe. Here’s what Spencer pulls out from the Justice IG. Even though most PSP leads were determined not to have any [...]


Still Writing This Chapter of Bush II | Design Website Easy
Pingback posted July 11, 2009 @ 9:30 am

[...] finding in the report: most leads secured by the secret surveillance program were determined not to have any connection to terrorism and — surprise!–then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ July 2007 testimony to [...]


ikez78
Comment posted July 11, 2009 @ 8:23 pm

Spencer, just curious. How much political influence do DOJ IG's come under from both parties? I don't know.


ikez78
Comment posted July 11, 2009 @ 8:23 pm

That would appear more likely if he had actually demonstrated some dirt on opponents though…


truth will out
Comment posted July 12, 2009 @ 1:11 am

how do you know he hasn't “actually demonstrated some dirt on opponents”? Jane Harman was wiretapped. wasn't Renzi, too? Who else?

'dirt' is not the only useful information that can be gathered from eavesdropping on your political opponents. knowing their 'strategy' comes to mind, for one…

remember that we already know the FBI spent an extraordinary amount of manpower infiltrating such scary domestic groups as the pacifist Quakers, prior to the 2004 presidential election…that was time and taxpayer money well-spent, sending the FBI guys on a wild goose chase (or perhaps that was the goal)…

i wonder if there's any connection to the lockdown of the counting room in Warren Co, Ohio on election night in Nov. 2004. the elections officials at the time claimed they HAD TO shut everyone out from oversight because the FBI and the Dept. of Homeland Security said so…. although no one since has found the mystery official who gave that bogus order…


johnhkennedy
Comment posted July 12, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

Was “President’s Surveillance Program” (Bush's) just spying on his political enemies?
#fb

A Conspiracy To Deceive Congress for eight years, about a secret CIA program is just like the Conspiracy To Ignore And Render Moot Our US-Federal Anti-Torture Laws.

It is time our Congressmen, Republican as well as Democrats showed us they support our Rule of Law and the Separation of Powers.

The time is now!

SIGN THE PETITION
calling for a special prosecutor at ANGRYVOTERS.ORG

http://ANGRYVOTERS.ORG


WaltFrench
Comment posted July 12, 2009 @ 7:28 pm

Again: value in checking boxes, but no value in, like, stopping terrorism. What about CIA?

I'm no fan of illegal and anti-Constitutional actions by “our” government, so I object to the fact that this article spends most of its time on trivia.

I pay for insurance against fire in my house and don't regret the fact that my insurer didn't pay out a penny because there was no fire. The fact that this illegal surveillance 'covered' a range of activities meant that anti-terrorism efforts could focus elsewhere. The fact that it didn't find anything? Just as relevant as the fact that no campaigns happened to be mounted that would've left a trail in this area: maybe we could've been smarter about where we put our efforts, but after the rather nasty surprise of 9/11, we were really grasping for straws. The whole country knew it and our Congress tacitly admitted it by agreeing with Bush's shotgun tactics.

The real concern is not that Bush was sloppy in spending our tax dollars — all the old claims that Republicans are more careful with budgets were buried years ago and everybody knows of the fountains of cash to the Halliburtons, KBRs and their ilk.

It's that an anti-democratic, secretive and paranoid Administration was taken over by the Vice President and run like a dictatorship when it came to rights, defense and foreign policy, using the pretty Bush face on this can of 14th-century, rotted swill.


Yoo’s Self Defense | Design Website
Pingback posted July 16, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

[...] This secret program, run without any Congressional or judicial oversight or input, was almost wholly ineffective. Yoo might dispute, dishonestly, that the program really wasn’t illegal, but he does nothing [...]


Yoo’s Self Defense | Design Website Blog
Pingback posted July 17, 2009 @ 4:07 am

[...] This secret program, run without any Congressional or judicial oversight or input, was almost wholly ineffective. Yoo might dispute, dishonestly, that the program really wasn’t illegal, but he does nothing [...]


Weekly Web Watch 07/06/09 – 07/12/09 « EXECUTIVE WATCH
Pingback posted July 26, 2009 @ 1:22 pm

[...] He also reports that the IGs determined that the majority of leads generated by the program had no connection to terrorism.  Andy McCarthy has his own rundown, which includes notes that two 9/11 hijackers would have [...]


Feinstein sets the record crooked « The Moderate
Pingback posted July 31, 2009 @ 3:19 pm

[...] the constitution you swore to uphold.  And regarding whether or not the surveillance program was of value?  Remember, this is what the Senate was accomplishing, circa 2006: With prodding from Senate [...]


The new Report on illegal spying is not a real investigation
Pingback posted December 11, 2010 @ 5:00 am

[...] (5) That these surveillance programs were criminal — no matter the ends to which they were used — has always been crystal clear. But what has always been uninvestigated is whether these surveillance powers were systematically abused for purely political ends.  The IG Report does not answer that because — lacking subpoena power — it cannot.  All it does is survey various national security officials — the ones who agreed voluntarily to answer questions — to find out if they thought the programs were helpful.  Even that very limited and unreliable inquiry revealed that most eavesdropping leads had little or nothing to do with Terrorism. [...]


The new Report on illegal spying is not a real investigation - Salon.com
Pingback posted May 21, 2011 @ 8:25 am

[...] (5) That these surveillance programs were criminal — no matter the ends to which they were used — has always been crystal clear. But what has always been uninvestigated is whether these surveillance powers were systematically abused for purely political ends.  The IG Report does not answer that because — lacking subpoena power — it cannot.  All it does is survey various national security officials — the ones who agreed voluntarily to answer questions — to find out if they thought the programs were helpful.  Even that very limited and unreliable inquiry revealed that most eavesdropping leads had little or nothing to do with Terrorism. [...]


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