A former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA) has released information revealing that the U.S. government has been extracting vast amounts of personal data from its citizens. While working at the agency, NSA whistleblower William Binney managed the development of a covert software program called ThinThread, engineered to address “national security” concerns following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The narrative originated in the late 1990s when Binney, a technical director for the agency, helped develop the software to correlate data from emails, phone calls, Internet searches, and credit card activity and store it in a database to be analyzed. The system was idled by 2000, but then re-launched within weeks of the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, armed with a $3-million budget to develop new ways to monitor communications of U.S. citizens.
Binney claimed that all safeguards originally planted in the ThinThread software were destroyed, arming NSA officials with more power and resources to spy on U.S. citizens. “I knew the dangers so I built in protections,” he asserted. “And you could still find the bad guys with the protections in it. But that wasn’t what they wanted so they took those things out.”
Due to this explicit violation of constitutional rights, Binney felt the need to apologize to the American people, as his software equipped the federal government with a despotic technological tool which has spawned a civil liberties nightmare. Consequently, the NSA whistleblower has become a political liability for the U.S. government, even prompting an armed raid by the FBI on his home.
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Photo: William Binney during an interview with Democracy Now: YouTube video