The deputy director of the National Security Agency (NSA) must be a magician; in August, he made 53 planned but foiled terrorist attacks disappear.

In July, NSA director Keith Alexander claimed that the wholesale surveillance of American electronic communications had “disrupted” 54 terrorist plots. Later, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Alexander’s deputy, John Inglis, admitted that in reality only one such “plot” was thwarted thanks to the bulk collection of phone records.

Given their pathological habit of lying — even under oath — it is impossible to know how many, if any, planned attacks on the United States have been avoided. We do know, however, that at least two mass killings described by the Obama administration or its mouthpieces as “domestic terrorism” have happened despite its assertion that the surveillance in keeping us safer.

The first of these atrocities was the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured at least 260 others on April 15, 2013.

The latest such massacre occurred just days ago when decorated former Navy electrician Aaron Alexis killed 12 people and injured three others at an attack at the Washington Navy Yard in the nation’s capitol.

Today, despite promises that we have given up our fundamental liberties in exchange for security, there are 15 people dead, many more injured, and scores of families who must feel as if their sacred freedom was sacrificed in vain.

Did the federal government fail to prevent these tragedies because the NSA and other agencies were monitoring the wrong people? No. These evildoers slipped through the cracks of the surveillance because the federal government is watching everybody, and therefore the individual, legitimately dangerous cases, are going unnoticed.

Rather than devote its immeasurable resources to monitoring those with demonstrably threatening behavior giving rise to actionable “probable cause” as mandated by the Fourth Amendment, the NSA watches everybody — including millions who go about their lives giving no reasonable doubt as to their innocence.

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