The senators write:
Just as in the cases of Mr. Medunjanin and Mr. Moalin,
however, it appears that Mr. al-Mihdhar’s phone number could also have
been obtained by the government using a variety of alternate means.
Before September 11, the government was surveilling a safe house in
Yemen but failed to realize that Mr. al-Mihdhar, who was in contact with
the safe house, was actually inside the United States. The government
could have used any number of authorities to determine whether anyone in
the United States was in contact with the safe house that it was
already targeting. It did not need a record of every American’s phone
calls to establish that simple connection.
. . .
Of note, intelligence officials have repeatedly asserted that
additional examples, which remain secret, show that the bulk
phone-records collection program has “contributed to” or “provided value
in” the investigation of a total of twelve different “homeland-related
terrorist events.” Amici have reviewed all twelve of these examples and
have yet to see any evidence that the bulk phone-records program
provided any information that was materially useful to any terrorism
cases other than those involving Mr. Moalin and Mr. Medjunanin. In the
opinion of Amici, the claim that the bulk phone-records collection
program has “contributed to” twelve different counterterrorism
investigations would not withstand public scrutiny, unless it were
accompanied by new evidence that has not been provided to Amici.