Just for the sake of argument, let's suspend our disbelief for a moment and pretend (I know it's a stretch) that the Obama administration and the apologists for the nation's spy apparatus in Congress, Democratic and Republican, are telling us the gods' honest truth.
They have, as the Wall Street Journal puts it, "amped up" their defense of the NSA's massive spying program, claiming that not two, but 50 terrorist plots have been foiled thanks to their metadata mining and their intrusive monitoring of our phone and email conversations and website browsing activity.
Think what that means: for years now, the Jihadists have known that the US spy apparatus is ubiquitous, and that it is able to track all their communications. Of course they knew this, because they would have seen all these plots being foiled (the real ones, not the many ones that were created by FBI or CIA provocateurs and plants), and, not being stupid, they would have put it together and realized that the plots that depended upon a lot of phone calls and internet communications were getting busted up, while ones that were handled either solo, or that were developed by careful word-of-mouth communication and courier were managing to succeed.
But we poor schmucks, the American people, have been left in ignorance, imagining that our carefully crafted and painstakingly memorized six or eight-digit passwords, including at least one letter and one number (or if we're really good, some symbol or other), were doing the job of keeping our online lives private and that our unlisted numbers, or our decision not to list an address with the phone company, were keeping our telephonic communications secure.
Ho ho! Were we fooled!
But really (stepping back into the real world again now), are we going to believe this nonsense about 50 NSA-foiled plots?
~ from Cranking Up the Washington Lie Machine by Dave Lindorff ~
Do I believe that the various top secret NSA programs revealed by Edward Snowden have thwarted at least 50 terrorist plots? Hell no! I base this conclusion on one fact: Team Obama is very self-serving and, had they foiled all these plots, they would have leaked details about them all along the way.
For all his administration's war on federal whistleblowers, the administration itself is very leaky. Every time they "strike a blow against terrorism," they are quick to get the word out. They want us to know that Obama is one tough dude and not somebody these bad guys can mess with.
It defies credulity to think that, during the last presidential election, Team Obama would have sat on a slew of juicy leaks and not used them to show that their man was tougher on terrorism than Romney. If numerous plots had been foiled, Obama's minions would have gone to every friendly reporter to spill the tantalizing details. They would have appeared on every mainstream political talk show to tout the president's creds.
Since this did not happen, it points to the notion that they are pulling these growing numbers out their asses in order to justify programs that they can't really justify.