Edward Snowden Blamed, FBI Promises Wiretaps Following Paris Attacks

Edward Snowden spurred FBI wiretapping debate, now suffers blame

Debate that raged over Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks is due to move back into the spotlight. In light of the Paris attacks, the FBI will kick up its observation of ISIS suspects though wiretapping and other security measures.

CNN spoke with two anonymous U.S. law enforcement officials about the tightened controls following the tragedy in Paris. The FBI will be taking note of the way bombers and shooters were able to circumvent French intelligence, and attempting to put barriers in place that would prevent such an attack taking place again in the U.S. Some media is quoting U.S. officials who are shifting blame to Edward for compromised security.

Local law enforcement has already been informed of the newest procedures by a high-ranking FBI official. Shortly after the Paris attacks, he contacted them with the measures for immediate implementation.

“The officials said that agents who are overseeing investigations of known ISIS supporters have these instructions: first, know where they are, then determine if there’s new information that merits making the investigative subject a higher priority. Some subjects will get increased monitoring and that will include additional wiretaps.”

Still, the FBI cautions, there is no evidence that an attack is imminent in the U.S. The organization compared its reaction to May’s Garland, Texas, shooting, saying that their response to that attack was actually slightly stronger. During May and June of this year, several arrests were made when the FBI jolted its 24/7 surveillance, including wiretapping, of ISIS suspects. Those apprehensions were not always based on terrorism charges if evidence of a plot could not be confirmed.

“In some cases we just needed to get people off the streets.”

Increased security as a result of the Patriot Act has been one of most controversial responses of the FBI and other governmental forces following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Many Americans were particularly incensed when Snowden released documents that showed the extent of the NSA’s spying programs.

FBI wiretapping Edward Snowden Paris attacks

Glen Greenwald, one of the primary journalists behind Edward’s story, called out what he sees as an emerging narrative from officials that Snowden’s NSA leaks are somehow to blame for the Paris attacks. Deeper wiretapping of ISIS suspects is something most people will get behind right now, but Greenwald argues in a column on The Intercept that Americans should be cautious about allowing emotion to manipulate their rights and demonize Edward.

“How dumb do they think people are to count on them forgetting all of this, and to believe now that The Terrorists only learned to avoid telephones and use encryption once Snowden came along? Ironically, the Snowden archive itself is full of documents from NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, expressing deep concern that they cannot penetrate the communications of Terrorists because of how sophisticated their surveillance-avoidance methods are (obviously, those documents pre-date Edward’s public disclosures).”

FBI wiretaps Edward Snowden in Paris attack

Snowden and Greenwald will face an uphill battle convincing the public of their viewpoint. CNN‘s article about increased FBI wiretapping following the Paris Attacks had already amassed many comments of support shortly after publication.

Do you think the FBI should increase wiretapping and other security measures following the Paris attacks despite the response to Edward Snowden’s leaks?

[Image via Handout and Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]