Former NSA officer, William Binney, has blown the whistle on the NSA’s efforts to keep track of American citizens. Democracy Now brought an interview with Binney to television, and he spoke of how the NSA has been quietly been building the world’s largest spy center in Utah.
Binney has done only one television interview since he has resigned from the NSA, and with this exclusive interview, he talks of his responsibilities in the NSA. Binney was a technical officer with the agency, and therefore he monitored communications, such as cell phones and Internet communications. He explains how he and his group of techs in the lab began to attack the problem of tracking communications.
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Binney claims that he and his group were careful not to violate the identity of U.S. citizens, up until the event of 9/11/01. After this date, Binney indicates that the NSA ordered that all communications should be monitored, no matter what rights were violated. Binney said that his team was given a budget of roughly $3 million to develop a way to track communications of U.S. citizens.
Binney was a source for an exposing article written by James Bamford for Wired Magazine. Bamford used the information given to him by Binney, to expose the way that the government was tracking all communication within the United States. With over 30 years in the NSA, and intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the agency, William Binney offered information that Bamford could not get any where else.
after his interview with Bamford, and his resignation from the NSA, Binney’s home was raided by the FBI on July 26, 2007. He says that his home was raided by armed agents, who came in with weapons drawn and he and his family were separated. He was questioned about other people with whom he was associated. This whole group of people had recently signed and filed a complaint regarding the mistreatment of Americans right to privacy.
William Binney joins a list of whistle blowers, which includes Julian Assange, who released information through Wiki Leaks, which may have endangered the lives of agents of multiple agencies around the world. Assange reportedly received his information from an inside source who was privy to classified operations by U.S. agencies.
William Binney served for more than 3 decades as a technical officer for the NSA and claims he is trying to fight for the rights of citizens of America. He repeatedly mentions an operation called Stellar Wind, which he says is a code name for a massive scan of U.S. citizen’s communications. He indicates that it is highly plausible that our rights to private communications are violated on a daily basis.
While I do not personally know if the information he has offered is 100% accurate, I am inclined to believe him, as he has sacrificed a 30 year career to come forward with information he considers vital to the American public’s safety and privacy. Are we being watched by our own government? While I do think that someone suspected of terrorist activity should be monitored, does that give the government the right to spy on our everyday lives?
Recent activity within the U.S. has led me to believe that we are indeed being monitored more closely than we should be. Within the last few weeks, you may have read elsewhere of a former Marine, Brandon J. Raub, who was arrested and detained in a mental evaluation facility in Virginia for his Facebook posts. Raub had posted several posts accusing the government of being guilty of such incidents as the collapse of building 7 near ground zero of the World Trade Center towers in New York on 9/11. Whether or not his accusations ring true, his right to the freedom of speech in expressing his beliefs was violated.
So, the question still stands. Are we victims of our own government? Have we created a powerful entity to protect us, just to have it turn on us instead? I will leave the decision of how to answer that question, to you, my readers. Tell us how you feel regarding these issues.