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Senator Rand Paul: NSA program failed to prevent terror

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The National Security Agency (NSA) in Fort Meade, Maryland

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says the US National Security Agency’s program of collecting US citizens’ phone metadata has failed to thwart terrorist attacks or help detain criminals as had been claimed by the United States authorities.

The Monday remarks were made in the wake of the NSA’s decision on November 29 to halt bulk collection of US citizens’ phone records authorized by the US government Patriot Act after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (AFP)

Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the NSA to collect any telephone and business records relevant to a counter-terrorism investigation.

"We’ve studied this issue and we found that the bulk data collection program didn’t catch any terrorists and didn’t prevent any attacks," Paul told the MSNBC television channel.

He added that collecting the phone data of US citizens had made the country more prone to terror attacks, as the government was "getting lost in the haystack" of records.

The extent of the NSA’s spying activities was revealed in June 2013, when Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor and whistle-blower, began leaking some 1.7 million classified intelligence documents showing massive collections of phone records of Americans and foreign nationals as well as political leaders around the world.

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