NSA data has ‘no discernible impact on terrorism’

NSA data has ‘no discernible impact on terrorism’

A public policy group says a review of U.S. terrorist arrests shows the government’s collection of bulk phone records does little to prevent terrorism, adding fuel to a debate over whether the spy program should be ended.

The nonprofit New America Foundation, based in Washington, analyzed cases involving 225 people recruited by al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups and charged in the U.S. since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The majority of cases started with traditional techniques, such as use of “informants, tips from local communities, and targeted intelligence operations,” according to a report today from the group, which has been critical of the NSA spy programs.

“Our investigation found that bulk collection of American phone metadata has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism and only the most marginal of impacts on preventing terrorist-related activity, such as fundraising for a terrorist group,” Peter Bergen, director of the foundation’s national security program, said in a statement.

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