“Let me say very clearly. The 2009 thing is a MacGuffin. They did not use this program to get the 2009 bombing stopped. It was actually the British who helped us do that. And, more importantly they missed the Major Hassan Nidal attack. He was in touch with Anwar al-Awlaki. And, we missed the Boston bombing, too.”
Buzzfeed backs this up:
Defenders of the American government’s online spying program known as “PRISM” claimed Friday that the suddenly controversial secret effort had saved New York City’s subways from a 2009 terrorist plot led by a young Afghan-American, Najibullah Zazi.
But British and American legal documents from 2010 and 2011 contradict that claim, which appears to be the latest in a long line of attempts to defend secret programs by making, at best, misleading claims that they were central to stopping terror plots.
While the court documents don’t exclude the possibility that PRISM was somehow employed in the Zazi case, the documents show that old-fashioned police work, not data mining, was the tool that led counterterrorism agents to arrest Zazi. The public documents confirm doubts raised by the blogger Marcy Wheelerand the AP’s Adam Goldman, and call into question a defense of PRISM first floated by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, who suggested that PRISM had stopped a key terror plot.