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NSA officials told to evoke 9/11 sympathies when justifying mass surveillance

Public SectorNews
, 31 Oct 2013News
NSA officials told to evoke 9/11 sympathies when justifying mass surveillance

A newly released internal document reveals details of how officials at the American National Security Agency (NSA) should cite 9/11 and the fear of future attacks when answering questions about the spying programme. 

Al Jazeera America obtained the government document through a Freedom of Information Act request, which details 'soundbites that resonate' and suggested talking points when dealing with the media and with Congress following the spy scandal that originated from leaked NSA documents by former contractor Edward Snowden.

Included in the 'soundbites that resonate', is the suggested response: "I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent."

In the 27 page document, the phrase '9/11' is mentioned a total of fifteen times. Statements include: "NSA and its partners must make sure we connect the dots so that the nation is never attacked again like it was on 9/11," as well as, "Post-9/11 we made several changes and added a number of capabilities to enable us to connect the dots," "If we had Section 215 in place prior to 9/11, we may have known that 9/11 hijacker Khalid Al Midhar was located in San Diego," and "In recent years, these programs together with other intelligence have protected the US and our allies from terrorist threats across the globe, to include helping to prevent over 50 potential terrorist events since 9/11."

This final claim that over 50 potential terrorist events have been thwarted by the NSA was called into question recently, when investigative news site ProPublica stated that there is no evidence that this figure is accurate.

The latest revelations concerning mass surveillance to have come from the NSA spy scandal concern Spain, Germany and France.

This week it was reported by Spanish newspaper El Mundo that the NSA secretly monitored 60 million phone calls in Spain in a single month, just a week after similar accusations of mass surveillance were reported in France.

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