In Julian Assange’s interview with Erin Burnett on CNN the other night, he mentioned a National Security Agency whistleblower named Bill Binney.
We had never heard this man’s name before; however, as we were putting together the transcript of the Burnett/Assange interview, we came across some articles about him.
Today, while researching the EFF’s revelations about the US local, state and federal governments’ massive domestic use of armed and unarmed pilotless drones in US airspace, we also came across the EFF’s work on the NSA “Warrantless Wiretapping” operations, including their new Utah Data Center now under construction… and this led us, once again to articles in which Bill Binney’s name came up again.
Mr. Binney was at one time one of the NSA’s top cryptanalysts, or code-breakers, who cut his teeth working on US’ Cold War operations against the USSR. He helped the NSA develop communications collection and analysis systems that allowed them to search vast amounts of telecommunications data in search of nuggets of key information of use to the US “Intelligence Community”.
At the time that he was helping to create this data-mining system for the NSA, the agency was – allegedly – not legally allowed to conduct domestic surveillance on U.S. citizens. However, after 9/11, the NSA’s mandate was broadened to include the collection and analysis of every single telephone call, email and every other form of electronic communication made from every U.S. citizen 24/7/365 – without any court-ordered search warrant. This, to Mr. Binney, was not what he had signed on to do for the NSA.
Well, why should we continue to describe what Mr. Binney did once he realized that the NSA was suddenly using the system he helped develop to spy on all US citizens, all the time? We’ll let Peabody-award-winning documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras’ excellent documentary on Mr. Binney explain it all much better than we possibly could. Here is her documentary, titled “The Program”, featured on the New York Times website. Enjoy!
FoWL – Chicago