Germany: NSA Whistleblowers Testify In Bundestag Inquiry, Disclose ‘Totalitarian’ Surveillance

NSA whistleblowers testify in Bundestag inquiry, disclose ‘totalitarian’ surveillance  (RT, July 3, 2014):

Former NSA agents-turned-whistleblowers are testifying before a German parliamentary committee as the Bundestag investigates America’s wiretapping methods with one of them branding the NSA approach “totalitarian.”

It is hoped that evidence from the two US citizens, William Binney and Thomas Drake, will shed light on the methods of surveillance used by the American National Security Agency (NSA), which eavesdropped on the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leading German and European politicians.

Binney and Drake broke their silence long before ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden leaked revelations about American intelligence agencies’ practices last year.

U.S. Veteran Intelligence Professionals Warn Obama On Syrian Intel

Veteran Intelligence Professionals Warn Obama on Syrian Intel (Antiwar, Sep 6, 2013):

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, September 06, 2013

Despite the Obama administration’s supposedly “high confidence” regarding Syrian government guilt over the Aug. 21 chemical attack near Damascus, a dozen former U.S. military and intelligence officials are telling President Obama that they are picking up information that undercuts the Official Story.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Is Syria a Trap?
Precedence: IMMEDIATE

We regret to inform you that some of our former co-workers are telling us, categorically, that contrary to the claims of your administration, the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident that killed and injured Syrian civilians on August 21, and that British intelligence officials also know this. In writing this brief report, we choose to assume that you have not been fully informed because your advisers decided to afford you the opportunity for what is commonly known as “plausible denial.”

We have been down this road before – with President George W. Bush, to whom we addressed our first VIPS memorandum immediately after Colin Powell’s Feb. 5, 2003 U.N. speech, in which he peddled fraudulent “intelligence” to support attacking Iraq. Then, also, we chose to give President Bush the benefit of the doubt, thinking he was being misled – or, at the least, very poorly advised.

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3 NSA Veterans Speak Out On Whistleblower Edward Snowden: We Told You So (USA Today)

3 NSA veterans speak out on whistle-blower: We told you so (USA Today, June 16, 2013)

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake: Snowden Saw What I Saw: Surveillance Criminally Subverting The Constitution


Thomas Drake, NSA whistleblower, in a still from the Robert Greenwald documentary War on Whistleblowers. Photograph: guardian.co.uk

Snowden saw what I saw: surveillance criminally subverting the constitution (Guardian, June 12, 2013, by Thomas Drake):

What Edward Snowden has done is an amazingly brave and courageous act of civil disobedience.

Like me, he became discomforted by what he was exposed to and what he saw: the industrial-scale systematic surveillance that is scooping up vast amounts of information not only around the world but in the United States, in direct violation of the fourth amendment of the US constitution.

The NSA programs that Snowden has revealed are nothing new: they date back to the days and weeks after 9/11. I had direct exposure to similar programs, such as Stellar Wind, in 2001. In the first week of October, I had an extraordinary conversation with NSA’s lead attorney. When I pressed hard about the unconstitutionality of Stellar Wind, he said:

“The White House has approved the program; it’s all legal. NSA is the executive agent.”

It was made clear to me that the original intent of government was to gain access to all the information it could without regard for constitutional safeguards. “You don’t understand,” I was told. “We just need the data.”

In the first week of October 2001, President Bush had signed an extraordinary order authorizing blanket dragnet electronic surveillance: Stellar Wind was a highly secret program that, without warrant or any approval from the Fisa court, gave the NSA access to all phone records from the major telephone companies, including US-to-US calls. It correlates precisely with the Verizon order revealed by Snowden; and based on what we know, you have to assume that there are standing orders for the other major telephone companies.

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Ex-NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake’s Advice To Edward Snowden: ‘Always Check Your Six’

“My life was essentially destroyed”
– Thomas Drake

Ex-NSA Leaker’s Advice To Snowden: “Always Check Your Six” (ZeroHedge, June 12, 2013):

“Be lawyered up to the max… find a place where it’s going to be that much more difficult for the US to make arrangements for his return… and and always check your six,” is the warning (advice) that Thomas Drake offers Edward Snowden, adding that, “it’s now validation of this vast, now systemic, industrial-scale leviathan surveillance system.”

As Reuters reports, Drake is one of the few people who understands from personal experience what the NSA Whistleblower is going through – the 56-year-old was prosecuted under the Espionage Act in 2010 for allegedly revealing classified information about the agency’s sweeping warrantless wire-tapping program. The government later dropped all but a misdemeanor charge.

“Always make sure you know what’s behind you,” he adds, “when you offer up information about the dark side of the surveillance state they don’t take too kindly to it.” Drake, whose life was “essentially destroyed,” is now a technical expert at an Apple store, but he still believes what he did was worth it, having no doubts: “Is freedom worth it? Is liberty worth it? Is not living in a surveillance society worth it? You’ve got to stand up and defend the rights and the freedoms that prevent that from actually happening.”

Via Reuters,

Thomas Drake is one of the few people who understands from personal experience what the future may hold for Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old former NSA contractor who exposed the U.S. government’s top secret phone and Internet surveillance programs.

His advice for Snowden: “Be lawyered up to the max and find a place where it’s going to be that much more difficult for the United States to make arrangements for his return,” Drake said. “And always check six, as we said when I used to be a flyer in the Air Force. Always make sure you know what’s behind you.”

Drake, a 56-year-old former intelligence official at the National Security Agency, was prosecuted under the Espionage Act in 2010 for allegedly revealing classified information about the agency’s sweeping warrantless wire-tapping program. The government later dropped all but a misdemeanor charge.

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