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NSA Surveillance Triggered 2010 Terror Case Against San Diego Men

Aired 6/18/13 on KPBS News.

The case against four San Diego men convicted earlier this year of conspiring to send money to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab was triggered by the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance program.

The case against four San Diego men convicted earlier this year of conspiring to send money to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab was triggered by the National Security Agency's controversial surveillance program, said FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce during a hearing Tuesday.

Armed fighters from the al-Shabab terrorist group travel on the back of pickup trucks outside Mogadishu in Somalia on Monday Dec. 8, 2008.
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Above: Armed fighters from the al-Shabab terrorist group travel on the back of pickup trucks outside Mogadishu in Somalia on Monday Dec. 8, 2008.

Joyce told the House Intelligence Committee that the NSA spotted a San Diego phone number from its database of all domestic phone call logs because of its suspicious contacts outside the United States. He said the NSA gave the number to the FBI.

Joyce said that after electronic surveillance was carried out in the case, officials learned the phone number belonged to a man planning to send money to a terrorist group in Somalia. Joyce said co-conspirators were identified through the surveillance and the terrorist activity was disrupted.

Federal officials in San Diego confirmed the case was that of the four Somali immigrants arrested in 2010 and charged with providing financial support to al-Shabab in Somalia. They were convicted earlier this year.

The government's case was primarily based on wiretaps of calls between the men and members of al-Shabab.

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