As a Special Agent for the FBI, Coleen Rowley testified before Congress in 2002 about the Bureau’s failure to nab terrorists planning the 9/11 attacks. That year, Time Magazine named her one of three “Persons of the Year.” Tuesday, in a special report to CNN, Rowley praised Edward Snowden as a “courageous person of conscience,” and criticized the massive surveillance program he uncovered as both inefficient and dangerous.
These programs falsely purport to get “novel intelligence from massive data.” (In fact, NIMD is the actual, self-explanatory name of one such program). Few within the national intelligence community complained about the wrongfulness, illegality or ineffectiveness — let alone the waste and fraud — of programs that create billions in profit for private surveillance contractors, technology experts and intelligence operatives and analysts.
But there’s no evidence the NIMD theory has worked. Researchers long ago concluded that the NIMD-type promise of detecting and accurately stopping terrorists through massive data collection was simply not possible.
Our government has a history of misusing information it collects, Rowley pointed out.
J. Edgar Hoover gathered secret information on anyone and everyone of consequence, which gave him power over some presidents. In the 1960s, the FBI’s COINTELPRO (counter-intelligence program) secretly monitored civil rights, anti-war and even feminist groups.
Hoover’s “black bag jobs” against such public activists as Martin Luther King Jr., secret blackmailing attempts and nonjudicial “disruption” of these groups is what actually led to the Church Committee investigation of abuses and the creation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which the NSA has now effectively dismantled.
Who wants to go back to the good ole’ HUAC-Hoover era?
Read the rest of Coleen’s commentary, “Massive spying on Americans is outrageous” at CNN.