Friday, September 06, 2013

George Kenney Interviews Author "Enemy Within" @ Electric Politics

Dear Michael,

Here's a story that hasn't gotten nearly the attention it deserves. In 2009 Najibullah Zazi, an American trained in Pakistan by Bin Laden's most trusted deputy, built himself a simple but extremely powerful bomb and drove from his home in Colorado to New York City with the intention of blowing himself up in the subway system. Through NSA's now notorious PRISM program the feds learned of the plot, the FBI tailed Zazi, and he was ultimately arrested, tried in a US court, and incarcerated. AP investigative reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, both Pulitzer Prize winners for an earlier slice of the story to do with the NYPD's surveillance of Muslim Americans, have laid out the Zazi timeline in an unusual, and effective, fusion of police procedural/reporting/policy analysis titled Enemies Within (Touchstone, a division of Simon & Schuster, just published this week).

Matt was kind enough to talk with me.

The book is not about the NSA. The actual intercept which sets events in motion is covered minimally but there's an important case study here, I think, both for those who would rein in the NSA and those who defend it. Has PRISM made us safer? It was PRISM, after all, that produced the intercept -- despite the fact that the intercept could, in theory, have been obtained through earlier, less intrusive FISA court methods. I asked Matt about this, which he has a different take than I do, but we agree the question is important.

Otherwise, a chilling, interesting story that almost certainly won't be the last of its kind.

If you like the podcast please forward the link.



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