Dumbest Logic Ever: 9/11 Happened Without Today's NSA Surveillance, And That's Proof Why It's Necessary

from the how-do-these-people-get-to-be-in-power dept

Oh, Stewart Baker. You may recall this former top NSA and DHS official from the time he said the Boston bombing proved that civil liberties advocates were wrong about cybersecurity. Or, maybe the time he blamed 9/11 on civil libertarians. Or, how about the time he said privacy advocates were to blame for the TSA groping you at the airport? And those are all just in the past few months. Baker always seems good for a head-smackingly ridiculous quote, and it appears that The Guardian got him to provide yet another one.

The Guardian has a big, overly designed (pretty, but… not clear for what good) piece called NSA Files: Decoded, which goes through many of the revelations in the Snowden docs and why they’re important. It’s a good read, interspersed with videos (which annoyingly autoplay as you get to them). Baker appears a few times, with his second video being another insane quote (as far as I can tell, there’s no way to embed the video here):

You can say, well show me proof that this really worked. I can show you proof that the lack of this really failed. And when you lose 3,000 people, that proof is pretty compelling.

That statement is shockingly non-sensical. With that sort of logic, you can argue for almost any abuse of power. You know what else we didn’t have before 9/11? Surgically implanted chips in our brains that would transmit our every thought to Stewart Baker’s home computer. Is that “compelling proof” that we should now have that? The fact that we didn’t have this kind of surveillance at the time of 9/11 is not “compelling proof” that it makes sense now, and you have to have no comprehension of basic logic and reasoning to think so.

The logic here is “9/11 happened, so anything we didn’t have in place during 9/11 is automatically compelling proof that it should be in place.” You know what else we didn’t have when 9/11 happened? Well, the list is pretty damn long. We didn’t have a US monarchy. Perhaps we need that. We had airplanes, which were used in the attacks. Perhaps it’s compelling evidence that we should get rid of airplanes. You can use this kind of brain dead logic to justify just about anything.

But, of course, that’s now how you actually do things. You don’t justify something by saying “this went wrong, we have to do something, something has been done, and that’s compelling proof.” There’s a big black box that Baker skips over, and it’s the question he was originally asked and declined to answer: does the “something” actually work? But, in Baker’s distorted view of the world, that doesn’t seem to matter.

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Comments on “Dumbest Logic Ever: 9/11 Happened Without Today's NSA Surveillance, And That's Proof Why It's Necessary”

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Anonymous Coward says:


Boston Marathon… so totally effective.

Even Russia called and said… those guys are bad news! BEFORE ANYTHING!

DHS & NSA are ANTI American… and these tools would only be effective in competent peoples hands… none of which exist in the Federal Government at practically any level! competent people know to avoid employment there!

out_of_the_blue says:

Actually, the US did and does have a plutocracy.

“We didn’t have a US monarchy.” — They’re people born into literally feudal entitlements to take as much as they want from the poor without ever contributing to society, so much money which is actually sheerly a notion on paper, that they couldn’t spend it away even if tried full time. Let’s just take Bill Gates: every day of the year he gets MILLIONS of dollars, more each day than YOU will earn in a lifetime of hard work. That cannot lead to Bill being fair or concerned about us — despite his tax shelter that masquerades as a charity — money corrupts, and doesn’t take much.

Since you’ve a rare vaguely new item here, I’ll stop… and go back to wondering about Google’s barges…

Dave Xanatos (profile) says:

You guys are all wrong. 9-11 happened because I had not yet created my robot gargoyle army. Now that my stealth robo-goyles are continually patrolling the skys above all major world cities, there will never be another 9-11. That the robo-goyles also gather information that further my plans for world conqu-…, I mean, business interests, is a small price to pay.

Anonymous Coward says:

It seems to me the NSA is getting desperate. Before you had to pry anything out of them and now they are coming out of the woodwork to proclaim mom, apple pie, and for the children.

What I haven’t heard are real life, documented, successes showing the NSA actually did do something with this info that resulted in benefits to the nation for the tax money they are spending. Just like the TSA, I see no justification for the stage security they are providing the nation domestically.

The NSA couldn’t even apprehend the Boston bombing perpetrators with the Russians telling the those two brothers were the problem. If they can fail to act when it is pointed out “there they are” what would they be able to do with out overseers to point them in the right direction. Data doesn’t contain overseers.

No, what this proves to me is the NSA is very scared it is going to lose it’s precious. And it’s about time it did.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

It happened this way

To hear it told by the real armchair experts, 9/11 couldn’t have been discovered by the NSA because it was an inside job and they knew about it anyway, but decided not to tell us because they didn’t want us to know about it.

Ed Snowden also wasn’t employed there at the time, either, so they kept the secret!

But actually, Wally is right-it was the lack of transparency and the “I’ve got my turf to protect” instinct in the government that provided the hijackers with the ability to not be found out beforehand. Read the 9/11 Commission Report for the background:


gregfullmoon (profile) says:

Re: It happened this way

Reading the 9/11 Commission report for a factual basis of the event is a bit problematic. There was plenty of info coming in. The handlers didn’t want it because they had an event that they wanted to happen.

The motivation is for the New Pearl Harbour of the ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses’ report from PNAC;


Also I give the link below in my main comment to Susan Lindauer CIA whistleblower. She seems a fairly credible character from establishment family with a good education including a Masters in ‘Public Policy’ from the London School of Economics. Google her if you want more;


It’s a bit like biblical creationists who just know that the Earth only got going in 4004BC. How did they know that? It’s in the book.

I’m happy to accept a sublime or hyper-dimensional reality, however the World is very old. And the 9/11 Commission has about as much relation to reality as Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse.

Anonymous Coward says:

The LAX shooting happened with the TSA so the TSA should be abolished.

This shooting is evidence that the TSA is useless. Security experts (including Bruce Schneier) have been saying this for years, all the TSA does is create lines which puts all these people in one central location turning them into a target. So everyone that has gone through the TSA has been screened but what about everyone in line to get screened? Now all you’ve done is create a line of vulnerable people.

Anonymous Coward says:

wow, everyone here has discovered the basic tenant or logic that you “cant prove a negative”, but you can confirm a positive.

the 9/11 commission report stated and concluded that various groups were in possession of enough pieces of the puzzle to determine what the ‘picture’ is showing, but the groups did not work together well enough for them to put those pieces in one place and see the picture.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“You can’t prove a negative” is not a tenet of logic. Negatives are proved in logic and math all the time. “A negative” is a meaningless phrase. Every statement can be rephrased as a “negative”. For example, “the glass is full” can be rephrased “the glass is NOT Empty”.

Here is a pretty good discussion of this fallacious belief. Google goves plenty others:


gregfullmoon (profile) says:

NSA was invention of Wall St. from 1947

The NSA has been established a looong time;


And signals intelligence sharing with the 5 eyes or Echelon partners, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand since the 1950s.

So not sure what bozo head is saying, just more crap from the guys that got plenty of warning from OS intelligence friends and USA intel assets like Susan Lindauer;


Here’s the spook community;


And here’s another on incoming intel, very comprehensive;


It’s so idiotic. How long can the house of cards stand?

TasMot (profile) says:

A New Internet Meme is looming......

You can say, well show me proof that this really worked. I can show you proof that the lack of this really failed. And when you lose 3,000 people, that proof is pretty compelling.

Well, the US Government was not giving me $10 million a day, so the lack of this is proof that they should start giving me $10 million a day. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

missingxtension (profile) says:

talking points brought to you by nsa

Pri has already reported about the NSA talking points that were passed to all members of Congress. The main one that has gotten a lot of traction is 911 connecting the dots.
That one is verbatim NSA, and you have heard it from government officials. So my question to you guys….
Why are you guys falling for this?

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