We may be much closer to living in an Orwellian state than many think, suggests William Binney, a National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower. Binney served as an NSA employee for almost 40 years, including time as technical director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, before leaving his post in October of 2001. In his first interview since he quit his job because of the domestic surveillance program, he sat down with Democracy Now! to discuss the NSA’s colossal power to spy on Americans.
Binney interviewed with two other individuals who have been frequent targets of government surveillance: Laura Poitras, an Oscar nominated documentary filmmaker, and producer and Jacob Appelbaum, a computer security researcher and Wikileaks volunteer. Both have been interrogated and regularly detained upon entrance into the United States. Their computers, cameras, and cell phones have been seized and presumably copied.
William Binney began the conversation discussing the role of the NSA and how its operation drastically changed post 9/11. After the 2001 attacks, the NSA began collecting roughly 320 million records of US –to- US citizen communication from commercial companies, largely AT&T. After this occurred, Binney “knew [he] could not stay there” and “had to leave.” Not only did this collection infringe upon constitutional rights, it also violated the Pen Registry Act, the Stored Communications Act, the Electronic Privacy Act, and the Intelligence Acts of 1947 and 1978.
With knowledge of the illegal data collection that was occurring, Binney and a few colleagues filed a DOD-IG report to the Pentagon and Inspector General reporting on the corruption, waste, fraud, and abuse that was occurring at the NSA. Because his signature was on this document, his home was raided on July 26, 2007, with his family present. Roughly a dozen FBI Agents entered his residence with guns drawn. He was separated from his family and interrogated.Continue Reading...