NSA Whistleblower: US Targeted Journalists in Spying Program

Posted: 23 January 2009 by Little Alex in National News
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Former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice interviewed by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on programs that spied on Americans specifically targeted journalists, when Obama stands, and what the NSA is.

One of my idols, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, put it best well before the alphabet soup of national security [sic]:

To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated at, regulated, docketed, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, weighed, censored, ordered about, by men who have neither the right nor the knowledge nor the virtue…. then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.

The Raw Story:

Former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice, who helped expose the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping in December 2005, has now come forward with even more startling allegations. Tice told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Wednesday that the programs that spied on Americans were not only much broader than previously acknowledged but specifically targeted journalists.

Tice first began alleging that there were illegal activities going on at both the NSA and the Defense Intelligence Agency in December 2005, several months after being fired by the NSA. He also served at that time as a source for the New York Times story which revealed the existence of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program.

Over the next several months, however, Tice was frustrated in his attempts to testify before Congress, had his credibility attacked by Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, and was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in an apparent attempt at intimidation.

Russell Tice on Countdown with Keith Olbermann – 21 Jan 09 – Part One (11:00):

Russell Tice on Countdown with Keith Olbermann22 Jan 09 – Part Two (7:21):

James Risen of the NYT reaction on Countdown with Keith Olbermann – 22 Jan 09 (5:08):

The Raw Story:

The allegation essentially changes America’s debate about domestic spying by the government, from one of listening to terrorists, as the Bush administration had framed it, to that of an intelligence operation beyond President Nixon’s greatest aspirations, if it’s true.

It should also raise new questions about a 2004 revelation in the New York Times that the paper had withheld a story for over a year, at the administration’s request, which described scant few, albeit now-known false details of the program.

“While many details about the program remain secret, officials familiar with it said the N.S.A. eavesdropped without warrants on up to 500 people in the United States at any given time,” the Times wrote, shortly after the 2004 election. “The list changes as some names are added and others dropped, so the number monitored in this country may have reached into the thousands over the past three years, several officials said. Overseas, about 5,000 to 7,000 people suspected of terrorist ties are monitored at one time, according to those officials.”

The paper also notes that additional information was omitted, again at the request of the Bush administration. The allegations at hand would seem to quickly dovetail into, ‘Why?’…

On July 9, 2008, the US Senate passed a bill expanding legal authority for electronic wiretaps by spy agencies, handing victory to President George W. Bush after a standoff over anti-terror strategy. Then-Senator Obama, along with newly appointed Secretary of State Clinton, said they would support Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn) in filibustering the GOP effort, specifically when it came to immunity for the private telecom companies which allowed the NSA to conduct warrantless spying.

Obama ultimately “compromised,” saying: “The President’s illegal program of warrantless surveillance will be over. It restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance – making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people.”

James Risen has been vocal against the Bush administration and has objectively reported on developments in wiretapping legislation as well as the protest against then Sen. Obama’s support of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and that wiretapping would be an “early test” for Pres. Obama’s administration. [insert obligatoryRon Paul was right” here]

But, more importantly, Mr. Risen reported that the administration testified before Congress in May ’07  that wiretapping was done with “court-approved warrants, and said that there were no plans ‘that we are formulating or thinking about currently’ to resume domestic wiretapping without warrants.”

Just days before Mr. Obama was sworn in, Mr. Risen reported “Court Affirms Wiretapping Without Warrants”:

The ruling came in a case involving an unidentified company’s challenge to 2007 legislation that expanded the president’s legal power to conduct wiretapping without warrants for intelligence purposes.

Several legal experts cautioned that the ruling had limited application, since it dealt narrowly with the carrying out of a law that had been superseded by new legislation. But the ruling is still the first by an appeals court that says the Fourth Amendment’s requirement for warrants does not apply to the foreign collection of intelligence involving Americans. That finding could have broad implications for United States national security law.

The court ruled that eavesdropping on Americans believed to be agents of a foreign power “possesses characteristics that qualify it for such an exception.”

“I think this kind of maintains the status quo,” said Scott Silliman, an expert on national security law at Duke University. “I don’t think it is a surprise that the FISA court found that the legislation was constitutional. They are going to defer to Congress, especially since there was a lot of discussion when the law was passed about the ability of the government to compel providers.”

Democracy Now! – James Bamford: “The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America” – 14 Oct 08 (full 48:07 interview):

The Bush administration’s wiretapping program has come under new scrutiny this week. Two influential congressional committees have opened probes into allegations US intelligence spied on the phone calls of American military personnel, journalists and aid workers in Iraq. We speak to James Bamford about the NSA’s spying on Americans, the agency’s failings pre-9/11 and the ties between NSA and the nation’s telecommunications companies.

Part Three on the NSA (7:57):

Mr. Proudhon couldn’t have dreamt of 21st century technology, but understood the inherent cynical nature of the State to preserve Itself over the People so the People become Its people. Whenever you ask of the State, It justifies Its own empowerment for the sake of empowerment and justifies that empowerment with your request.

No, Mr. Proudhon didn’t see the days of wiretapping, but he foresaw the extent to which the State will always work to control the People. Looking back to his quote has to make you ask, ‘What comes next?’ every time you consent to State empowerment.

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