- - Monday, January 19, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The failure of the massive surveillance state established by liberal western governments is becoming more and more apparent. One such failure was accidentally confirmed by both Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Speaker John Boehner in just the last week.

Using the threat of terrorism, western governments, including our own, began to collect private communication information from every single citizen, all in the name of safety. Perhaps at the start, politicians believed amassing billions of pieces of information on tens of millions of people would somehow be helpful, but the irony is the effort has grown so massive it has become a hindrance in the effort to stop organized Islamist savages from murdering innocents.

Don’t take just my word for it. Mrs. Feinstein, albeit in an unintentional confirmation of the failure of mass surveillance, told CNN’s Gloria Borger that the U.S. visa waiver program was our “Achilles’ heel” in our effort to keep the nation safe. She noted:

“It’s my belief … that the visa waiver program is the Achilles’ heel of America, because you’re right, Gloria. They can come back from training, they go through a visa waiver country, and they come into this country.”

Then Mrs. Feinstein added:

“Now, there are no-fly lists. There are terrorist lists. But they’re in the tens of thousands and even millions, so it’s difficult to ferret someone out. They — there are stolen travel documents in large numbers that they can pick up — pick up a false passport, et cetera.”

Finally, Mrs. Feinstein, the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is admitting in a comment generally ignored by the legacy media, that the amount of information collected about people has become so massive that it’s useless. Even with lists and data, one of the main threats we face remains our open border (the visa waiver program) and the allowance of pretty much anyone to enter this country.

Ending the visa waiver program, interestingly, would be the equivalent of building a fence around the country, allowing us to be more judicious regarding those who enter.

What a concept, and only half-useful. A leaked Customs and Border Protection report last year revealed people from 75 countries use the land route via the southern border to gain access to the United States, with it being the preferred route by illegals entering from Syria.

As we can infer from her comments, it’s not just lists of people that are too big to do any good — it’s the billions of data details collected on citizens and their phone calls, emails and other private communication. The attacks in Paris confirm the mass surveillance state as a solution to terrorism is a complete failure.

Forbes reports, “In 2013 French paper Le Monde revealed the country’s Directorate General for External Security ‘systematically’ collected ‘electromagnetic signals from computers or phones in France, as well as flows between French and abroad.’ The publication claimed all emails, text messages, telephone records, Facebook messages and Twitter interactions were stored for years. France’s security services also gather up vast amounts of metadata, the information that shows who, where and how people communicate … .”

Even here at home the establishment doesn’t want to let a good crisis go to waste.

Mr. Boehner is crediting mass surveillance for the arrest of an Ohio Islamist for allegedly plotting to bomb the U.S. Capitol.

As Fox News reports, “[Mr. Boehner] said law enforcement officials would have never known about the Capitol Hill threat without the program, in which U.S. intelligence officials collect information under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act … .”

Unfortunately for Mr. Boehner, that’s not entirely true. Here is the fact of the matter: The capture of the Ohio jihadi came about using one of most old-fashioned police techniques we have — the snitch.

CNN’s report about the Cincinnati man’s plan for jihad at the Capitol said, “An FBI informant, a man in trouble with the law who worked with the agency to improve his legal standing” had contacted the FBI. “In the fall, the informant told the FBI about someone he had been in touch with via Twitter, the criminal complaint said.”

In other words, the suspect, who tweeted under the name Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah, contacted a guy on social media who was looking to impress the FBI. The snitch then became an FBI informant and the suspect’s “accomplice.” According to CNN, the FBI watched the suspect for 20 months leave “alarming posts” on Facebook and Twitter.

All in all, excellent old-fashioned police work. None of which required the Patriot Act, the collection of metadata or mass surveillance of every citizen in the United States.

Many argue against the surveillance state as a matter of defending privacy rights. While obviously important, the truly urgent reason to reject the surveillance state is because it doesn’t work.

After the Paris attacks, politicians here at home keep warning this type of terror attack is guaranteed to happen here. It’s another indication that our own government, which insists mass surveillance keeps us safe, doesn’t expect it to do so.

Tammy Bruce is a radio talk-show host, author and Fox News contributor.

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