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NSA Whistleblower Kirk Wiebe Slams Limited Surveillance Reform

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J. Kirk Wiebe, 32-year veteran of NSA, rejects the charade of limited surveillance reform and urges passage of the Surveillance State Repeal Act, HR 1466.   

Wiebe spent his career spying on our enemies, and is spending his retirement sounding the alarm on America’s expanded, expansive surveillance state.  We open with his unlikely route to “Whistleblower”, and why he and William Binney retired from NSA at the end of 2001 after their Thin Thread program was shelved in favor of NSA director Michael Hayden’s  contractor bonanza called Trailblazer.  Thin Thread was cheap, and protected 4th Amendment rights; Trailblazer burned through $6 billion and never worked.

In some detail, we discuss the limited reforms–which are only focused on the Patriot Act–being considered in the House and the Senate.  Wiebe notes that the House bill still allows NSA to get all of our phone metadata, it’s just stored in a different place.  And he says that he didn’t know, until we all learned recently, that DEA had been collecting metadata on all international calls starting in 1992.  Wiebe notes that he and his whistleblowing colleagues have never been allowed to meet with a single senator or member of Congress, nor have they been invited to testify on surveillance issues.

Wiebe explains how much information can be gleaned from metadata, even restricted to “2 hops” from the suspect’s data.  Careful listeners will note that Mr. Wiebe does not deny having a bookie.

Wiebe offers a strong endorsement of Ed Snowden’s whistleblowing, and calls him a “hero”.  He also warns that surveillance has expanded along with deep corruption in politics, government, and business–to the point that one of us could be targeted for lethal action just like the targets of our drone strikes outside the US.

Near the end of our extended conversation, we review some of the slides from the PRISM program, one of the first revelations from Snowden.  You can see them here, and follow along.  Our point is that all of the collection of internet communications of every kind will continue unaffected by any of the legislation except for HR 1466.