Three former NSA employees expose ‘mass illegal surveillance’ in court

By End the Lie

The National Security Agency (NSA), which has recently been protected from having to disclose their relationship with the search engine giant and data mining powerhouse Google, is back in court over the case Jewel v. NSA.

The case, which was reinstated by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in late 2011, is challenging the NSA’s now well known massive warrantless surveillance program.

This case is more important than ever with the NSA pouring a whopping $2 billion into a heavily fortified data center which will almost certainly be used to monitor the communications of Americans. The National Counterterrorism Center’s new guidelines allowing extended data retention make matters even worse, if you can imagine such a thing.

Three former employees of the NSA, William E. Binney, Thomas A. Drake, and J. Kirk Wiebe, have come forward with evidence to back up a case being valiantly fought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

In a motion filed in the 9th Circuit on July 2, the three whistleblowers, all former intelligence analysts, confirmed the fact that, “the NSA has, or is in the process of obtaining, the capability to seize and store most electronic communications passing through its U.S. intercept centers, such as the ‘secret room’ at the AT&T facility in San Francisco first disclosed by retired AT&T technician Mark Klein in early 2006,” according to the EFF.

The EFF is also now asking the court to reject the government’s now tired “state secret” arguments in order to allow the case to actually move forward.

“For years, government lawyers have been arguing that our case is too secret for the courts to consider, despite the mounting confirmation of widespread mass illegal surveillance of ordinary people,” explained Cindy Cohn, the EFF’s Legal Director.

“Now we have three former NSA officials confirming the basic facts. Neither the Constitution nor federal law allow the government to collect massive amounts of communications and data of innocent Americans and fish around in it in case it might find something interesting. This kind of power is too easily abused,” said Cohn. “We’re extremely pleased that more whistleblowers have come forward to help end this massive spying program.”

All three former NSA employees have made quite an effort to expose the wholly unacceptable surveillance program, including bringing the program to the attention of the New York Times.

The leak quickly made them the targets of a federal investigation due to the fact that the New York Times coverage quickly ignited controversy in the media and public sphere over the gigantic warrantless wiretapping program.

Thankfully, both Binney and Wiebe were formally cleared of all the charges against them, while Drake had the charges dropped.

In the EFF’s motion for partial summary judgment they requested that the court move to no longer accept the government’s attempts to shut down the case without even addressing the facts by invoking the claim that it is too secret to even address.

This is the same weak argument that government lawyers have used time and time again when challenged on matters of secrecy and the disturbing drone assassination program.

Instead of allowing the government lawyers to fall back on this tactic, the EFF is seeking to apply the processes under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which require the court to actually rule if the electronic surveillance was conducted in a legal manner.

However, I believe it is worth pointing out that FISA leaves a lot to be desired, as well as the court which sign off on FISA warrants. This is because the courts authorized every single request from the government in 2011, according to the government’s own report, which makes the entire process farcical.

“The NSA warrantless surveillance programs have been the subject of widespread reporting and debate for more than six years now. They are just not a secret,” EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien rightly pointed out.

“Yet the government keeps making the same ‘state secrets’ claims again and again,” Tien said. “It’s time for Americans to have their day in court and for a judge to rule on the legality of this massive surveillance.”

Well said, Tien. Let’s just hope that the American people do get their day in court and that this unimaginably expansive surveillance program is shut down before we descend even deeper into a complete surveillance state.

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10 Responses to Three former NSA employees expose ‘mass illegal surveillance’ in court

  1. RichardM July 7, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Thank God for whistleblowers! When the people fear the govt you have tyranny, when the govt fears the people you have liberty.

    What needs to be added to this famous quote is that this current govt we have has been hijacked. This current administration is not following our Constitution and Rule of Law. Eric Holder our AG is in contempt for refusing to release documents that the Govt Oversight Committee and Darrell Issa are requesting in relation to Operation Fast and Furious. Just like Obama, if there’s nothing to hide, then show the documents. What are Obama and Holder trying to hide? Back to the quote — apparently the govt does fear the people. The only problem though is that the wrong people are in control and even if they have to break some heads and break some laws, the govt cares not. This govt MUST be in total control of us, the people, or they’ll wet their panties. Only when you have an illegal govt (as we do now) will you witness this type of behavior from our own govt.

    This illegal govt is very telling in their actions, not so much their words.

    Reply
  2. ObserverIOnThe Hill July 7, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Oh Oh Richard, got yourself on the “list” now dint ya ? See you around the FEMA camps.

    Reply
  3. beaniegirl July 8, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    The tide is turning. We’re going to be using those FEMA camps to put the criminal govt. in, the Bohemian Grove members, Bilderbasturds, etc.

    Reply
  4. Jerry Ryberg July 8, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Right, Drake and the co-workers were on “60 Minutes” too. But that was about Drake and the other two being accused by then NSA Director Gen. Hayden, of something concerning them finding a really cheap way to keep track of all the new digital info coming in, rather than Hayden’s very expensive way.

    Reply
  5. Archie1954 July 8, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Every patriotic American has a duty and responsibility to report illegal activities carried out by the US government or any of its agencies. Judges have a duty and responsibility as part of their administration of justice to seriously review every warrant placed before them and judge the necessity of same. They also must ensure justice is done when the government automatically puts forth its secrecy defence to stop a trial. Many times such strategy is simply to prevent justice from being carried out. A judge must ensure justice. That is his first and foremost duty and responsibility.

    Reply
    • Anonymous July 9, 2012 at 8:12 AM

      Who do we report chemtrails to?

      Reply
  6. Pingback: US could put Assange to death if it gets him – former senior NSA official « News World Wide

  7. AC July 10, 2012 at 2:32 AM

    From all that I have been reading on the subject I am going to have to say that MF’s comments were the results of my findings about who is really in control! We need our power back!

    Reply
  8. dion young August 8, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    i have gathered information that clearly ties the “NSA”, “cyberpunks.org” and “evsco.net” (a gaming killboard) together. please help me in seeing that this information gets in the hands of those who might be able to find it useful. i am currently a targeted individual of eh and they are turning up the heat because clearly, they do not want this information known. my phone number is, 415.940.2648

    Reply
  9. Wolftrap December 1, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Look into the Rogue Antenna(s)/Radiator(s) being used in the USA. Think the words invasion of privacy are without meaning?

    See what The Russian Law says about radiators.

    Reply

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