It turns out George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretap program wasn’t just illegal, it was pretty useless. A new report by the inspectors general of the agencies charged with catching the evildoers determined that many agents were flummoxed by the vague information coming out of the overly secretive program, and those who weren’t couldn’t demonstrate how it was helpful.


At another point, it noted that some FBI agents “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 IG visited said the FBI’s process for disseminating PSP-derived information failed to adequately prioritize the information for investigation.

Meanwhile, CIA officers were unable to make “full use” of the data because too few people had been briefed on the closely held program.

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To be fair there are plenty of former intelligence officials with security clearance a lot higher than ours that insist the program saved lives. Can they prove it? So rude of us to ask. And no.

Then there are gems like this, quoted by CNN from the IGs’ report: “Even though most PSP [President’s Surveillance Program] 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.”

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