Mission Creep Is Weakening Counter-Terror Efforts
Bruce Schneier is an internationally-recognized security expert who regularly writes for CNN, Wired and other publications. Schneier’s blog was just listed by Time as one of the 25 best blogs in the world. Schneier trounced the former head of the TSA (87% to 13%) in a recent debate on airport security hosted by the Economist.
Washington’s Blog asked Schneier 3 questions today by email.
[Q] Many top experts (including you) have said that mass surveillance on Americans is harmful to national security, as it makes the haystack too big to search meaningfully for bad guys.
As a layperson, it seems to me that the same is true with many of our counter-terrorism efforts since 9/11.
[Q] For example, Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz calculates that the U.S. will end up spending $3-5 trillion dollars in the Iraq war [a Brown University study actually concluded that the Iraq war could end up costing $6 trillion dollars]. Yet the 9/11 Commission found that Iraq had no connection to 9/11.
[Q] Similarly, “mission creep” has resulted in numerous activities – including protesting or being a privacy advocate – being labelled as “potential terrorism”.
Putting aside the fact that this is trashing our Constitutional liberties, is this counterproductive from a counter-terror perspective because it “creates a bigger haystack” and distracts our intelligence, defense and law enforcement services from focusing on actually finding and stopping the real terrorists who want to kill people on U.S. soil?
[A] I certainly think so.
(Note: Schneier was not commenting on any of our links, as our questions were sent in plain text.)