The shadowy but controversial National Security Agency (NSA) — despite U.S. law and constitutional protections — has collected most of the e-mails sent and received by Americans, agency whistleblower William Binney (photo) explained during an explosive TV interview. Phone calls and other forms of electronic communications are also routinely targeted.
Meanwhile, the domestic spying apparatus has almost certainly expanded more under President Obama than even under the previous George W. Bush administration, said the former technical director of the NSA World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group. Binney exposed the lawless espionage in a television interview with Democracy Now host Amy Goodman, but he is hardly the first to blow the whistle.
The internal spying regime, instituted under an NSA program known as “Stellar Wind,” began sometime in 2001, Binney said. But after the scheme was implemented, he resigned from the agency in disgust. “At that point, I knew I could not stay because it was a direct violation of the constitutional rights of everybody in the country," he said.
The NSA, Binney explained, has also enlisted the support of major companies such as AT&T to help spy on the American people. “I don’t think any of them opposed it in any way,” he said of the firms approached by the federal government to aid in the unlawful espionage activities.
According to the whistleblower, the corporations were told by officials that it was legal and “patriotic” to assist. When the lawlessness was finally exposed, however, those same companies had to be given retroactive immunity for the crimes they were caught committing.
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