A technical expert employed by the NSA tries to get the word out
that the agency is broadly violating the constitutional rights of
Americans. Sound familiar? The year was 2002, not 2013, and the
whistleblower was a man named William Binney. So how come you’ve
never heard of him?
Click above to watch Nick Gillespie’s
extended tell-all interview with Binney.
This video was original released on January 10, 2014. Here’s the
“Where I see it going is toward a totalitarian state,”
Binney. ”You’ve got the NSA doing all this collecting of
material on all of its citizens – that’s what the SS, the Gestapo,
the Stasi, the KGB, and the NKVD did.”
Binney is talking about the collection of various forms of
personal data on American citizens by the National Security Agency (NSA),
where he worked for 30 years before quitting in 2001 from his
high-placed post as technical leader for intelligence. A registered
Republican for most of his life, Binney volunteered for military
service during the Vietnam War, which led to his being hired by the
NSA in the early ’70s.
In 2002 – long before the revelations of Edward Snowden rocked
the world – Binney and several former colleagues went to Congress
and the Department of Defense, asking that the NSA be investigated.
Not only was the super-secretive agency wasting taxpayer dollars on
ineffective programs, they argued, it was broadly violating
constitutional guarantees to privacy and due process.
The government didn’t just turn a blind eye to the agency’s
activities; it later accused the whistleblowers of leaking state
secrets. A federal investigation of Binney – including an FBI
search and seizure of his home and office computers that destroyed
his consulting business – exonerated him on all charges.
“We are a clear example that [going through] the proper channels
doesn’t work,” says Binney, who approves of Edward Snowden’s
strategy of going straight to the media. At the same time, Binney
criticizes Snowden’s leaking of documents not directly related to
the NSA’s surveillance of American citizens and violation of
constitutional rights. Binney believes that the NSA is vital to
national security but has been become unmoored due to technological
advances that vastly extend its capabilities and leadership that
has no use for limits on government power. ”They took that
program designed [to prevent terrorist attacks] and used it to spy
on American citizens and everyone else in the world,” flatly
declares Binney (33:30).
Binney sat down with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie to discuss
“Trailblazer”, a data-collection program which was used on American
citizens (1:00), why he thinks the NSA had the capability to stop
the 9/11 attacks (7:00), his experience being raided by the FBI in
2007 (12:50), and why former President Gerald Ford, usually
regarded as a hapless time-server, is one of his personal villians
Approx. 50 minutes.
Produced by Amanda Winkler. Camera by Todd Krainin and
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