The NSA could have easily prevented the 2001 World Trade Center attacks

William Binney. Photo: Rama (CC)

William Binney. Photo: Rama (CC)

Well, that’s according to what the Guardian calls “a convincing, if evidence-light, documentary about whistleblower William Binney”:

Despite the controversy over Edward Snowden’s revelations of US surveillance of its citizens, it’s easy to imagine the country’s security services privately not being that embarrassed: there might be professional pride in overzealous snooping.

But such bodies’ role in 9/11 is another matter entirely. What if it could be shown that the NSA could have – should have – prevented the attacks on the World Trade Center; that its failure to do so wasn’t due to bad luck, but a lethal cocktail of incompetence, arrogance and greed; and that they then sought to cover up their mistakes?

This possibility is the driver of a fascinating, conspiracy theorising documentary: Friedrich Moser’s A Good American, which premieres on Tuesday at the CPH:DOX film festival in Copenhagen. It may not have the contemporaneous frisson of Laura Poitras’s Oscar-winning Citizenfour, but it certainly packs a punch. The American of the title is William Binney, Bill to his friends, a crypto-mathematician and former NSA analyst, who devised a surveillance and analysis system that was cut-price, had built-in privacy protections, was up-and-running in 2000, and so dazzlingly effective that he claims it “absolutely would have prevented 9/11”, if only the agency hadn’t wilfully ignored it. The documentary doesn’t categorically prove the case – ironically for a film about data, we need to see some, or have more collaborations than are offered. Yet it does make us believe…

[continues at the Guardian]

majestic

Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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