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Eavesdropping Probe Continues, NSA Swamped FBI With Tips

Jan 17, 20061 min
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

In the months following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the National Security Agency inundated the FBI with thousands of tips and leads gained by the alleged illegal eavesdropping program.

The New York Times reports that FBI agents doing many of the checks into those leads, often requiring interviews, felt they were pointless invasions of privacy. The FBI director at the time, Robert S. Mueller III, also questioned the legal rationale for a program that eavesdropped on Americans without warrants.

However, President Bush described the program as a “vital tool” against terrorism and Vice President Dick Cheney said that the program has saved “thousands of lives.”

According to The Times, the program results had a different feel as they tracked terrorism in the United States. They often said that the sheer number of tips that led to dead ends was a distraction from counterterrorism work that could have been more productive and provided few potential terrorists that they did not already know about. Read more.

By Paul Kerstein