NSA Admits: There Have Been A Bunch Of Intentional Abuses, Including Spying On Love Interests

So, this week, we wrote about the NSA quietly admitting that there had been intentional abuses of its surveillance infrastructure, despite earlier claims by NSA boss Keith Alexander and various folks in Congress that there had been absolutely no ”intentional” abuses. Late on Friday (of course) the NSA finally put out an official statement admitting to an average of one intentional abuser per year over the past ten years. The AP is reporting that at least one of the abuses involved an NSA employee spying on a former spouse. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal suggests that spying on love interests happens somewhat more often:

The practice isn’t frequent — one official estimated a handful of cases in the last decade — but it’s common enough to garner its own spycraft label: LOVEINT.

A handful is still significantly more than once. And it’s a lot more than the “zero” times we’d been told about repeatedly by defenders of the program.

While the NSA says it takes these abuses seriously, there’s no indication that the analyst was fired.

Much more troubling is that it appears that the NSA only told its oversight committee in the Senate about all of this a few days ago:

The Senate Intelligence Committee was briefed this week on the willful violations by the NSA’s inspector general’s office, as first reported by Bloomberg.

“The committee has learned that in isolated cases over the past decade, a very small number of NSA personnel have violated NSA procedures — in roughly one case per year,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the committee, said in a statement Friday.

Of course, this is the same Dianne Feinstein who, exactly a week ago, said the following:

As I have said previously, the committee has never identified an instance in which the NSA has intentionally abused its authority to conduct surveillance for inappropriate purposes.

Yeah. Because apparently the NSA chose not to tell the committee until a few days later, despite it happening for years.

And, of course, they release this all on a Friday night, hoping that it’ll avoid the news cycle…

In the meantime, the NSA just made Senator Feinstein look like a complete fool. She’s been its strongest defender in Congress for years, and has stood up for it time and time again, despite all of this questionable activity. Then, last week, it lets her tell lies about it without telling her beforehand that there had been such abuses. At this point, it’s abundantly clear that Feinstein’s “oversight” of the NSA is a joke. She’s either incompetent or lying. Either way, it appears that the NSA is running circles around her, and isn’t subject to any real Congressional oversight. At some point, you’d think that maybe she’d stop defending it and actually start doing her job when it comes to oversight. You’d think the fact that it let her make a complete fool of herself by claiming there had been no intentional abuses should make Feinstein realize that the NSA situation is out of control. But, tragically, this seems unlikely. Even her statement seems to want to minimize the seriousness of the fact that she — the person in charge of oversight — was completely kept in the dark about very serious intentional abuses. Senator Feinstein just got hung out to dry by the NSA. You’d think she’d stop going to bat for it and its lies.

Either way, we’ve now gone from General Keith Alexander and Feinstein claiming “no abuses,” to them saying no “intentional” abuses, to this latest admission of plenty of intentional abuses, including spying on lovers. Perhaps, instead of lying, it’s time for the NSA to come clean and to get some real oversight.

Can the NSA Know What it’s Actually Doing?

The American public has a much better understanding of how the National Security Agency does its work, how it monitors itself, and how it interacts with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. We should avail ourselves of the opportunity to understand these issues as much as possible.

For example, the Director of National Intelligence tells us about the two major overcollection/underestimation problems the NSA discovered in 2009.

One involved bulk telephone records, and the other involved the now-discontinued email metadata collection program. The DNI insists that the technical complexities of the collection were such that the agency did not for some time have a clear sense of precisely how its own programs were working. At the same time, when these two major problems were identified, the NSA realized that its compliance architecture had not kept pace with “operational momentum,” and began to overhaul its entire procedures and management structure. The NSA therefore did not realize it was misleading Congress and the FISA court. This makes sense.

But I do wonder: If NSA does not know what it is doing because it is so good at collecting intelligence, is it possible that the entire SIGINT architecture is somehow emergent in the sense that it is too complex to be subject to the type of oversight that a reasonable person who does not understand SIGINT would think is appropriate?

This isn’t a philosophical question. If the NSA doesn’t know what it’s doing, or if it is not possible for NSA to know what it is doing, then should it design systems that err on the side of over-compliance? In other words, should the “bias” of its policies be to proactively screen out information even if it might include valuable foreign intelligence because NSA is probably overcollecting? Or are the American people willing to allow a certain amount of technological pipe shifting, even if it includes their communication, so long as the NSA is legitimately trying to make it work?

How eager is the National Security Agency to share its compliance problems with Congress? And how much information SHOULD they share with members of Congress who aren’t members of the intelligence committees?

Consider how it described the tens of thousands of emails that flew unnoticed into NSA repositories because the agency had legitimate technical trouble dealing with “multi-communications transactions,” or MCTs, under its “702” authority, a section of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

Remember, “702” data is made up of two different types of collection. Through its PRISM program, the NSA acquires pre-certified and target-vetted data sets from internet companies. Through its upstream collection, the NSA directly intercepts transiting internet traffic streams at ISP nodes throughout the United States. Each company that allows NSA access to its nodes gets a code name, like STORMBREW. The SECOND type of collection makes up only about 10 percent of what NSA collects under 702, but it is subject to much less pre-screening. NSA is allowed to use what it calls “U.S. Persons Identifiers” to “query” the PRISM-collected data because that data has already been certified by the Justice Department and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as having a relevant foreign intelligence purpose. Analysts are NOT allowed to use U.S. persons identifiers to query the raw traffic streams. The technical problem NSA identified had to do with the agency’s ability to screen out unrelated and entirely domestic traffic that they acquired directly from the fiber lines. And the court held that NSA basically ignored the U.S. persons data they KNEW was being inadvertently collected. This includes tens of thousands of emails per year, a tiny fraction of the total, but a large number nonetheless.

To Congress, the NSA said that the court denied the certifications “because of its concerns about rules governing the retention of certain non-targeted internet communications — so-called multi-communications transactions (MCT)s acquired through the NSA’s upstream collections.” That sounds like a minor thing. And you wouldn’t know from this sentence that it took NSA a few years to figure this out, and that the court suggested that this was the third time that the NSA dramatically understated the scope of one of its major collection programs. The NSA tells Congress that the problems were quickly identified and quickly rectified, without describing what actually happened, or why. We know, of course, that the problem was a bit more significant than the NSA describes in the white paper.

DHS ‘Constitution Free’ Zones Inside US Ignored by Media

In what should be front page news blasted out nationwide as a breaking news alert, the DHS has openly established extensive ‘Constitution free zones’ in which your Fourth Amendment does not exist. 

It’s not ‘conspiracy’ and it’s not fraud, the DHS has literally created an imaginary ‘border’ within the United States that engulfs 100 miles from every single end of the nation. Within this fabricated ‘border’, the DHS can search your electronic belongings for no reason. We’re talking about no suspicion, no reasonable cause, nothing. No reason whatsoever is required under their own regulations. The DHS is now above the Constitution under their own rules, and even Wired magazine authors were amazed at the level of pure tyranny going on here.

This ‘border’ even includes where the US land meets oceans in addition to legitimate borders with Mexico and Canada. As a result, you have over 197 million citizens suffocated in these 100 mile ‘border zones’ that include major cities like New York City, Houston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. Checkout the graphic below for a visual representation, with the orange area representing the Constitution free zone as designated by the DHS:

An ACLU image showing 'Constitution free border zones'.

What’s even more amazing, is that this has been going on since 2008. That’s about 5 years of absolute unconstitutional abuse of power by the Department of Homeland Security that the media fails to even document. That’s 197 million citizens living without a Constitution as far as the DHS is concerned, and apparently the Department of Justice (DOJ) must be pretty content too. Amazingly, no one has challenged this besides the ACLU, which was contacted following the case of a man who was actually detained within the 100 mile ‘border’ area.

Not only was this man’s laptop searched for no reason, as is ‘allowed’ under DHS code now, but they ended up finding pictures designated to be linked up with ‘terrorist’ groups. In response, the man was thrown in a cell while DHS agents went through every piece of data on his entire laptop. The ACLU is now suing over this event, but there’s no telling how the case will go with such limited media exposure. The DHS is literally gutting the Constitution and declaring itself higher than the law of the land by doing this, and it spells out major trouble for the entire Bill of Rights at large.

DHS DISMISSES CONSTITUTION, BILL OF RIGHTS

Because if the DHS can simply ‘overrule’ the Fourth Amendment for 197 million citizens, it can also ‘overrule’ the First and Second Amendments as well. What’s stopping them? It’s highly illegal under the Constitution, but it appears they truly don’t care. And to demonstrate just how little they truly care, they have even gone and ‘reviewed’ themselves for their own actions following outcry from some legal experts.

To break it down: back in 2008 there was outrage from those who actually value the Constitution and understand how the bloated DHS entity works, so the DHS promised to prove within 120 days that what they were doing was constitutional and legal. Years later, the report came out to reveal that the DHS actually reviewed itself and determined that it was acting 100% perfectly. It also founds that everything it was doing was ‘constitutional’ because it was not actually removing the Constitution from United States soil, only the ‘border’.

The ‘border’ that expands 100 miles and includes 197 million people.

This news should be on the front page of every single news organization in the world, but the sad reality is that it’s not. It’s up to the alternative news, the real news, to report on this. It’s up to me to make videos about this, it’s up to the alternative news to syndicate it out, and it’s up to you to share this. It’s time to reclaim our Constitution and tell the DHS we won’t live in Constitution free zones any longer.

Can Americans Sue Over NSA surveillance?

The government has long argued that since people can’t prove they were targeted, they don’t have standing to sue. But after Edward Snowden’s revelations…

Kwazi Nkrumah speaks at a protest outside the U.S. Capitol against the NSA's recently detailed surveillance programs.
Kwazi Nkrumah speaks at a protest outside the U.S. Capitol against the NSA’s recently detailed surveillance programs.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Since the George W. Bush administration’s warrantless domestic wiretapping program was uncovered in 2005, some 70 lawsuits have been filed in federal court to challenge the government’s broad collection of Americans’ telephone and internet data. Nearly all of them have been dismissed, in part because the plaintiffs couldn’t show they were targeted by the top-secret programs.

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks may have changed that, according to legal scholars and civil libertarians. At least five new lawsuits have been filed since he first revealed in June that the NSA indiscriminately collects and stores some telephone metadata of U.S. citizens.

The “one critical difference from the Bush era,” American University national security law expert Stephen Vladeck tells The Washington Post, is that “we now have indisputable physical evidence that the conduct being challenged is actually taking place.” That makes it “more likely” that courts will start allowing legal challenges to surveillance practices, Vladeck adds.

On June 8 in San Francisco, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White took a first big step toward allowing the laws to be challenged on Fourth Amendment grounds. White ruled that a 2008 lawsuit, Jewel v. NSA, filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against NSA “dragnet” phone-data collection, didn’t fit under the Obama administration’s invocation of “state secrets” privileges, in part because of “the multiple public disclosures of information regarding the surveillance program.” The EFF’s Kurt Opsahl was ebullient:

Jewel v NSA decision: One small step for the case, one giant leap for the Constitutional rights of mankind.

— Kurt Opsahl (@kurtopsahl) July 8, 2013

CNET‘s Declan McCullagh is a little more measured, noting that White’s ruling “is anything but a final decision.” But, he adds, “overcoming the hurdle of the administration’s ‘state secrets’ claims is still a major step,” and one that allows the case to continue.

On Monday, another little beam of transparency shone through, as the chief judge of the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — charged with overseeing the NSA surveillance, and accused of being a rubber stamp — urged the Obama administration to declassify its ruling that allegedly compelled Yahoo and other internet providers to turn over customer data. That’s a win for Yahoo, which wants to prove it fought on behalf of its users, but also a potential window into the FISA court’s legal rationale for allowing metadata collection.

What’s more, says The Washington Post‘s Carol D. Leonnig, FISA court Judge Reggie B. Walton’s “order was released on a public docket the court recently created after revelations about National Security Agency programs.” That itself is a big step for the reticent “spy court, which hears arguments in sealed, windowless courtrooms and has treated all its opinions as classified secrets.”

In practice, though, Americans still face the same hurdle to challenging the surveillance laws — specifically the 2008 expansion of FISA court oversight — in federal court, says Adam Liptak inThe New York Times. In February, the Supreme Court sided 5-4 with U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. and rejected a challenge to the 2008 law from Amnesty International. They relied,says Liptak, on a commitment from Verrilli:

He said, a little comically in retrospect, that the human rights groups, lawyers and reporters who sought to challenge the law had no particular reason to think that their communications were being collected…. If the government wants to use information gathered under the surveillance program in a criminal prosecution, he said, the source of the information would have to be disclosed. The subjects of such surveillance, he continued, would have standing to challenge the program. [New York Times]

Since the Supreme Court ruling, however, federal prosecutors in Miami and Chicago have refused to say if the 2008 law was used to target defendants accused of plotting to blow up targets in New York and Chicago, respectively. In effect, and contrary to Verrilli’s assurances,Liptak says, these prosecutors “have immunized the surveillance program from challenges under the Fourth Amendment, which bans unreasonable searches and seizure.”

Even if all the challenges to NSA surveillance end up being thrown out, says The Washington Post‘s Jerry Markon, “the lawsuits could still serve a larger purpose for opponents of the programs by raising public awareness of the issues surrounding surveillance and possibly forcing the government to make changes or disclose more.” Previous lawsuits have led to changes at the U.S. prison camp at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay and a public acknowledgment of the U.S. drone program.

Whoever is president, “the government does things to avoid embarrassment,” University of Pittsburgh law professor Jules Lobel tells The Washington Post. “And lawsuits are a key pressure point.”

By Peter Weber

Edward Snowden and America’s Security-Clearance Vetting Problem

Whatever you think about NSA leaker Edward Snowden and his outlook on government secrets, it’s pretty clear that from a human-resources perspective, he was a terrible hire. Just weeks after starting his job at Booz Allen Hamilton, Snowden took medical leave — then fled the country with top secret documents he had pilfered while on Booz Allen’s dime (and, by extension, the taxpayers’).

Lots of questions remain about Snowden’s hiring: Like how a relatively low-level IT contractor like Snowden got access to such sensitive information, why Booz Allen put a guy with apparently a high school education in such a position, at $122,000 a year, and whether the other 480,000 government contractors with top-secret clearance pose a similar threat.

If the NSA knows the answer to the first question, it isn’t saying so. Reuters has some new insights into the second question: Snowden appears to have padded his résumé a bit, according to “a source with detailed knowledge of the matter.” He claimed to have taken computer-related courses at Johns Hopkins and a University of Maryland campus in Japan, and “estimated” that he would receive a master’s degree in computer security from Britain’s University of Liverpool sometime this year, Reuters says. That information “did not check out precisely,” according to Reuters‘ source, but was close enough to get him the job. And obviously, Snowden knows his way around computer networks.

The answer to the question about the rest of the country’s government contractors isn’t encouraging, if you think America’s spy agencies should keep secrets. Roughly 4.9 millionpeople have some level of U.S. security clearance — classified, secret, or top secret — and the federal Office of Personnel Management, which oversees 90 percent of the government’s security background checks, farms out a lot of that vetting to private companies. The biggest, USIS, re-authorized Snowden’s top secret clearance in 2011.

And it may not have done a stellar job. “We do believe that there may be some problems” with Snowden’s 2011 background check, OPM Inspector General Patrick McFarland told a Senate hearing on Thursday. McFarland declined to elaborate, but it also came out yesterday that USIS has been under criminal investigation since late 2011, for allegedly systematically performing inadequate background checks. (USIS says it was never informed that it is the subject of a criminal investigation.)

USIS isn’t alone in its faulty practices. The company — started by former OPM employees in 1996, sold to private equity firms Carlyle Group and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe in 2003, then resold in 2007 to private equity firm Providence Equity Partners, which merged it with HireRite and Kroll under the umbrella Altegrity Inc. — conducts 45 percent of the background checks contracted out by OPM. USIS earned $200 million last year. But the whole process of government vetting is flawed to a dangerous degree, McFarland told the Senate hearing:

“There is an alarmingly insufficient level of oversight of the federal investigative-services program…. A lack of independent verification of the organization that conducts these important background investigations is a clear threat to national security.” [Via The Wall Street Journal]

In one example cited by McFarland, an unidentified woman at an unidentified vetting company fabricated 1,600 credit reports. And “in an ironic twist,” says Kevin Liptak at CNN, “the background check used to hire her was also found to be false.” In all, 18 workers — seven contractors and 11 federal workers — have been criminally convicted of falsifying records while conducting background checks since 2007.

McFarland says there are 36 cases pending, but his office lacks the resources to clear the backlog. “I believe there may be considerably more,” he said on Thursday. “I don’t believe that we’ve caught it all by any stretch.”

Why did the government start outsourcing its security-clearance vetting? “The idea was to harness the efficiencies of the private sector to get rid of the backlog of security clearances,” Dan Gordon, a former top procurement official in the Obama administration, tells Bloomberg.

But efficiencies sometimes come at a cost, says Dion Nissenbaum in The Wall Street Journal, and “one concern for lawmakers is the pressure on contractors to quickly complete cases to bring in more money for their firms.”

One answer to the sloppy screening that may have missed some red flags with Edward Snowden, then, would be to stop outsourcing America’s security-clearance vetting to for-profit companies owned by private equity firms. That said, 11 of the 18 people busted for fabricating records were federal employees. And its not clear any screening criteria would have caught Snowden.

Another idea: The government could keep fewer secrets, lessening the need for so many background checks — and the $1 billion a year they cost us. Case in point: The widely acknowledged drone program that was an official U.S. secret for so long. And while some of Snowden’s leaks very likely have affected national security, others seem relatively benign. On Thursday, for example, The Guardian published documents from Snowden that explain the rules for NSA retention of “incidentally” snagged records of U.S. persons.

“I can’t imagine there’s great harm to national security from these rules being out,” William C. Banks, an expert on national security law at Syracuse University College of Law, tells The New York Times. “If this helps us learn more about what the government’s doing, that’s probably a good thing.”

Edward Snowden’s Revelations Are “Just The Tip Of The Iceberg”

According to U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez, members of Congress learned “significantly more than what is out in the media today” during a closed briefing about the NSA on Tuesday, and that what has been revealed so far about NSA snooping is “just the tip of the iceberg”.  During her interview with C-SPAN on Wednesday, she also stated that NSA spying is “just broader than most people even realize” but due to security restrictions she could not reveal more than that.  So precisely what are the American people not being told?  And do our leaders ever plan to tell us the truth?  Many of our politicians have come down extremely hard on whistleblower Edward Snowden, but if it wasn’t for him most Americans would have no idea what the NSA has been up to.  Is the Obama administration going to come clean on this, or do we have to wait for even more whistleblowers to come forward?  The American people deserve to know that they are being spied on, and it appears that those in charge of doing this spying have been flat out lying to Congress about it.

Today, one of the most powerful men in the U.S. government is Keith Alexander, the Director of the NSA.  According to a Wired article that just came out, Alexander “is regarded with a mixture of respect and fear” by those inside the government…

Inside the government, the general is regarded with a mixture of respect and fear, not unlike J. Edgar Hoover, another security figure whose tenure spanned multiple presidencies. “We jokingly referred to him as Emperor Alexander—with good cause, because whatever Keith wants, Keith gets,” says one former senior CIA official who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity. “We would sit back literally in awe of what he was able to get from Congress, from the White House, and at the expense of everybody else.”

And according to that same article, Alexander foresees a day when the entire Internet will be directly under NSA control…

Alexander runs the nation’s cyberwar efforts, an empire he has built over the past eight years by insisting that the US’s inherent vulnerability to digital attacks requires him to amass more and more authority over the data zipping around the globe. In his telling, the threat is so mind-bogglingly huge that the nation has little option but to eventually put the entire civilian Internet under his protection, requiring tweets and emails to pass through his filters, and putting the kill switch under the government’s forefinger. “What we see is an increasing level of activity on the networks,” he said at a recent security conference in Canada. “I am concerned that this is going to break a threshold where the private sector can no longer handle it and the government is going to have to step in.”

Does that paragraph put a chill up your spine?

It should.

The free and open Internet that we enjoy today may not always exist.  The power of government may eventually transform it into something else entirely.

And as Dr. Jerome Corsi has just written about, Alexander has now publicly confirmed much of what Edward Snowden has been alleging…

The NSA director confirmed to Congress today that leaker Edward Snowden had access to a highly sensitive database containing personal information that could be mined to track a target’s thoughts and actions and possibly predict future acts.

U.S. Army General Keith B. Alexander, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, told the Senate Appropriations Committee that Snowden “had great skills as an IT (Internet Technology) system administrator.”

Yes, in this day and age every nation needs intelligence agencies.  But they should be used to spy on the enemies of the American people, not on the American people themselves.  The Fourth Amendment is supposed to be our guarantee that the government will not invade our privacy or investigate us unless there is probable cause that we have committed a crime.  That means that if they don’t have probable cause they are supposed to leave us alone.

Unfortunately, those running our government seem to have a tremendous disdain for the U.S. Constitution.  In fact, all over the western world we are seeing freedoms and liberties being destroyed.  The following is what Simon Black recently had to say about all of this…

By now it should be clear to anyone paying attention that most of Western civilization is on a dangerous slide into tyranny.

They’re confiscating funds directly from people’s bank accounts. They’re seizing reporters’ personal records and phone logs. They’re digitally spying on everyone’s emails.

They’ve authorized military detention and drone assassination of their own citizens.

They’re using tax offices to harass political opposition groups.

They tell us what we are allowed to eat and drink, what foods we are allowed to put in our own body.

Think about it. These are Soviet tactics, plain and simple.

What’s more, they don’t even care. They think we’re all idiots who are too stupid to even notice what they’re doing.

Now is the time for the American people to stand up and object to all of this.

If you are waiting for our politicians to save you, then you are going to be waiting for a very, very long time.

And most Americans have already figured this out.  According to a new Gallup survey that was just released, the confidence that the American people have in Congress is at an all-time low.  Only 10 percent of all Americans have confidence in our legislative branch at this point.

If the American people do not demand change now, it will be a signal to those doing the snooping that they can push the envelope even farther.

We need to heed the warnings of the whistleblowers.  Our own government has been listening to our most private conversations and they have been totally getting away with it.  Just check out what NSA whistleblower Adrienne J. Kinne told NSA expert James Bamford

I also wrote about Adrienne J. Kinne, an NSA intercept operator who attempted to blow the whistle on the NSA’s illegal eavesdropping on Americans following the 9/11 attacks. “Basically all rules were thrown out the window,” she said, “and they would use any excuse to justify a waiver to spy on Americans.” Even journalists calling home from overseas were included. “A lot of time you could tell they were calling their families,” she says, “incredibly intimate, personal conversations.” She only told her story to me after attempting, and failing, to end the illegal activity with appeals all the way up the chain of command to Major General Keith Alexander, head of the Army’s Intelligence and Security Command at the time.

Do you want the government to listen to your “intimate, personal conversations”, record them and stash them in a giant data center out in Utah where they will be held forever?

If not, then this is your chance to stand up and demand change.

NSA Snooping Excludes Mosques, Missed Boston Bombers

The White House assures that tracking our every phone call and keystroke is to stop terrorists, and yet it won’t snoop in mosques, where the terrorists are.

That’s right, the government’s sweeping surveillance of our most private communications excludes the jihad factories where homegrown terrorists are radicalized.

Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.

Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.

We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.

Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists — inside mosques — and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.

If only they were allowed to continue, perhaps the many victims of the Boston Marathon bombings would not have lost their lives and limbs. The FBI never canvassed Boston mosques until four days after the April 15 attacks, and it did not check out the radical Boston mosque where the Muslim bombers worshipped.

The bureau didn’t even contact mosque leaders for help in identifying their images after those images were captured on closed-circuit TV cameras and cellphones.

One of the Muslim bombers made extremist outbursts during worship, yet because the mosque wasn’t monitored, red flags didn’t go off inside the FBI about his increasing radicalization before the attacks.

This is particularly disturbing in light of recent independent surveys of American mosques, which reveal some 80% of them preach violent jihad or distribute violent literature to worshippers.

What other five-alarm jihadists are counterterrorism officials missing right now, thanks to restrictions on monitoring the one area they should be monitoring?