Monday, May 15, 2006

NSA Whistleblower To Allege New Illegalities By SIGINT Agency

A former NSA officer will be alleging that heretofore publicly unknown illegal activities, possibly involving the use of satellite-based platforms, has been conducted by the NSA and that nominee for CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden was told personally that such operations were forbidden under U.S. law.

An article in GovExec has the details:

A former intelligence officer for the National Security Agency said he plans to tell Senate staffers (this) week that unlawful activity occurred at the agency under the supervision of Gen. Michael Hayden beyond what has been publicly reported, while hinting that it might have involved the illegal use of space-based satellites and systems to spy on U.S. citizens.

Russell Tice, who worked on what are known as "special access programs," has wanted to meet in a closed session with members of Congress and their staff since President Bush announced in December that he had secretly authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens without a court order. In an interview late Thursday, Tice said the Senate Armed Services Committee finally asked him to meet (this) week in a secure facility on Capitol Hill...

He said he plans to tell the committee staffers the NSA conducted illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of U.S. citizens while he was there with the knowledge of Hayden, who has been nominated to become director of the CIA. Tice said one of his co-workers personally informed Hayden that illegal and unconstitutional activity was occurring...

"I think the people I talk to next week are going to be shocked when I tell them what I have to tell them. It's pretty hard to believe," Tice said. "I hope that they'll clean up the abuses and have some oversight into these programs, which doesn't exist right now."

Tice originally asked to meet with the Senate and House Intelligence committees, but they did not respond to his request. The NSA did not reply to written questions seeking comment for this story.

The NSA fired Tice for what it claimed were psychological problems, including paranoia. A number of NSA employees have been terminated under such pretexts in recent years, corresponding with the extra-legal endeavors of the SIGINT agency following 9-11.

Branding dissidents as being mentally ill is an old Soviet tactic to discredit one's opponents and discourage others from becoming whistleblowers. It is yet another dickless "get tough" approach from the discredited U.S. government.

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