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Former top NSA officials William Binney and Thomas Drake expand on their 18-page memo to Obama detailing corruption, profiteering and illegal acts--and reject claim that metadata could have prevented 9/11.Click here for free audiobook download from Audible, and generate $15 to PBC Podcast!
Binney started at NSA in 1970, and embraced the intel reforms as he rose to become one of the agency's top technical officers. Drake served as an intel officer in the Air Force and Navy before joining NSA on 9/11/01. With former colleagues Kirk Wiebe and Ed Loomis, they wrote this 18-page open memo to Obama. In this in-depth interview, they share what they'd like to tell Obama about the NSA: that they witnessed corruption, obstruction of justice, the cynical use of 9/11 to expand the NSA budget and authorities beyond the law and constitution.
In a powerful soliloquy, Drake vehemently rejects the current NSA talking point embraced by Obama and other leaders--that 9/11 could have been prevented if the mass data collection program had been in place. Drake reveals that he still wakes up in a sweat sometimes, due to his knowledge that NSA had information to block the hijackers, and failed to act or share it with CIA and FBI. Binney firmly rejects the notion from Obama's panel of buddies, that "no abuses have occurred", noting that he and Drake are just two people who have been abused in efforts to protect secret, illegal spying, and that NSA data are used by other agencies in illegal ways.
They offer many other important comments about our surveillance state. Drake, who was assigned to monitor East Germany during the Cold War, makes several accurate references to the Stazi, secret police. One interesting note: when asked about the recent hacking of tens of millions of credit card records from Target, they noted that corporate security standards are not optimal, because NSA wants to maintain its access to those networks.
The second instalment with Drake and Binney covers their 21-point agenda for real reform of our surveillance agencies, and will follow in a day.