After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the George W. Bush administration ordered the National Security Agency (NSA) to ignore the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 by beginning the secret warrantless surveillance of international phone calls, emails and data without going through the Judicial Branch of government. This surveillance evolved into a program called Stellarwind. Now, newly declassified documents show that the data obtained from Stellarwind was so secret that it was not useful in tracking terrorists.
The report was prepared jointly in 2009 by the inspector general offices of the Defense Department, the Justice Department, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It was dumped, with large portions blacked out, late Friday on the weekend of the White House Correspondents’ dinner after a Freedom of Information request by The New York Times.
The report showed that because Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and other law enforcement officers were kept in the dark about the source for some data, it…