Yesterday a long-known but long-covered up report on the extent of NSA’s illegal spying on millions of Americans was made public. Interestingly this outrageous American scandal was revealed and reported not by an American media outlet but by one outside the United States. That alone should tell you a lot.
The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries. The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.
I characterize the report as long-known and long-covered up because over eight years ago this scandal was exposed and related to the US Congress and media by long-ignored whistleblowers.
Interestingly, shamelessly, half-accurately, and indirectly the elected traitors known as the members of the US Congress have already admitted that much:
The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday said senators were informed of the administration’s sweeping surveillance practices, which they said have been going on since 2007.
“Everyone’s been aware of it for years, every member of the Senate,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
I say half-accurately because they have intentionally provided a wrong date. They have known about this particular illegal operation, in addition to several other equally explosive illegalities, since 2005; thanks to long-ignored truth-telling NSA whistleblowers.
As the founder and director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition I became aware of at least two NSA truth-tellers who tried to alert Congress and the US media to these illegal government operations. I personally assisted them in their desperate attempts to reach and brief the appropriate congressional offices.
I can only divulge the identity of one of these NSA witnesses who courageously came forward publicly-and dearly paid the price for doing so. As for the others-their internal battles continue to date.
On December 22, 2005, I made public the following press release (the release was sent to all appropriate congressional offices and spineless members of the US mainstream media):
Former NSA Intelligence Analyst & Action Officer Urges to be Heard by Congress Regarding Unlawful Conduct by NSA
Russ Tice, former National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence analyst and action officer, has sent the following two letters to the chairs of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. Mr. Tice intends to report to Congress probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts conducted while he was an intelligence officer with the National Security Agency (NSA) and with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). These acts involved the Director of the National Security Agency, the Deputies Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, and the U.S. Secretary of Defense, and were conducted via very highly sensitive intelligence programs and operations known as Special Access Programs (SAP). SAP programs and operations are more commonly referred to as “black world” programs and operations. Mr. Tice was a technical intelligence specialist dealing almost exclusively with SAP programs and operations at both NSA and DIA.
Mr. Tice stated: “As a Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) officer it is continually drilled into us that the very first law chiseled in the SIGINT equivalent of the Ten Commandments (USSID-18) is that Thou shall not spy on American persons without a court order from FISA. This law is continually drilled into each NSA intelligence officer throughout his or her career. The very people that lead the National Security Agency have violated this holy edict of SIGINT.” A pivotal question in this case is whether Americans were being spied on via a vacuum cleaner approach wherein vast amounts of information are sucked in. FISA warrants require a name of the target and would not cover such a mass approach. He also added: “In addition to knowing this fundamental commandment of not violating the civil rights of Americans, intelligence officers are required to take an oath to protect the United States Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. It is with my oath as a US intelligence officer weighing heavy on my mind that I wish to report to congress acts that I believe are unlawful and unconstitutional. The freedom of the American people cannot be protected when our constitutional liberties are ignored and our nation has decayed into a police state.”
“These actions by the current administration are a compulsion to secrecy, an expansive view of presidential authority, and reluctance to answer to the people and Congress. Woodrow Wilson, himself no novice concerning secrecy, claimed that it is a ‘fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety’. That is a presumption that we have been called upon to suspend in the name of national security, but with recent disclosures that suspended judgment appears to have been unwise. We urge the congress to hold hearings and let patriotic witnesses like Russ Tice testify,” stated Sibel Edmonds, the director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC).
To read the entire press release and our letters to the US Congress Click Here.
So what does all this tell us?
That the Executive Branch of the United States of America has been illegally and continuously engaged in surveillance of all its citizens.
That the United States Congress has been briefed and reported on this illegal-unconstitutional surveillance, and has readily gone along with it- as collaborators.
That the United States Federal Courts have been sitting on the side-lines, and allowing the continuation of the illegal-unconstitutional surveillance of United States Citizens.
That the media in the United States has firmly positioned itself as government- collaborators in this illegal-unconstitutional practice against the citizens of the United States.
And finally … that the citizens of the United States of America are in a position to decide to act or not to act against this Four-Branch-Police State.
Sibel Edmonds is the Publisher & Editor of Boiling Frogs Post and the author of the Memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story. She is the recipient of the 2006 PEN Newman’s Own First Amendment Award for her “commitment to preserving the free flow of information in the United States in a time of growing international isolation and increasing government secrecy” Ms. Edmonds has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University.
From the archives: