November 16, 2015

Could More Online Surveillance Have Stopped the Paris Attacks?

Source: U.S. News & World Report

Journalist: Tom Risen

Last week's terror attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people have reignited a debate about giving the government greater access to encrypted messages and services, one in which officials must weigh the potential need for broader spying powers against efforts to protect consumer privacy.

The Islamic State group – which has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks – is suspected of communicating through anonymous chat services like the Facebook-owned WhatsApp, showing that despite years of expanded government surveillance jihadists still have many places to secretively plot their schemes. Before the coordinated shootings and suicide bombings in the French capital, Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon also said terrorists can communicate through messages exchanged via Sony's PlayStation 4

And while intelligence agencies ahead of the Paris attacks had "strategic warning" that the Islamic State group was planning operations, their covert communications made it difficult to uncover a detailed plot, CIA Director John Brennan on Monday told an audience in the District of Columbia.

Read the full article at U.S. News & World Report.


  • Ben FitzGerald

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Defense Program

    Ben FitzGerald is a partner at Lupa, a private investment firm, and an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). At Lupa he leads the firm’s inve...