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In-Depth Interview: Spying on Our Spies–Journalist James Bamford Reveals “Insider Threat” Investigations

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Veteran NSA watcher James Bamford reveals “insider threat” investigations of intelligence personnel, triggered by Manning and Snowden leaks.Jim Bamford is a veteran Washington journalist who has focused on the NSA and other intelligence agencies for many years.  He’s the author of Shadow Factory, and writes for Foreign Policy, Wired and other outlets.

In this recent article, he profiles an NSA language specialist who was suddenly targeted for an investigation that continued for 2 years;  the woman was never charged, but lost her security clearance and her job.  In a similar case, the Justice Dept. has just ended a 2-year investigation of diplomat Robin Raphel for suspicion of spying for Pakistan, based on an intelligence intercept.  No charges will be filed, but her reputation has been ruined.

We discuss the case of NSA whistleblower Tom Drake and his prosecution under the draconian Espionage Act;  Bamford was a consultant to Drake’s legal team.  This new report from McClatchy says the usually-lame Office of Special Counsel is investigating the original investigation of Drake by the Pentagon’s Inspector General to determine if evidence helpful to Drake was destroyed.

We also talk about Chelsea Manning’s recent op-ed about the Insider Threat Task Force, and how Obama has relentlessly pursued whistleblower leaks while allowing official leaks without penalty, as in the disclosures of the Stuxnet attacks on Iran.