NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • NSA Whistleblowers Criticize Obama's Proposed Reforms


    Reforms must include independent oversight with unrestricted access to all intelligence databases, say whistleblowers -   January 19, 14
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

    Audio

      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook




    I support The Real News Network because it is not entertainment...it is real news. - David Pear
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Transcript

    NSA Whistleblowers Criticize Obama's Proposed ReformsJESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: On January 17, President Obama delivered a speech to address the surveillance programs of the National Security Agency, or NSA.

    BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: As a senator, I was critical of several practices, such as warrantless wiretaps. And all too often new authorities were instituted without adequate public debate.

    Through a combination of action by the courts, increased congressional oversight, and adjustments by the previous administration, some of the worst excesses that emerged after 9/11 were curbed by the time I took office.

    DESVARIEUX: But according to NSA whistleblowers, these NSA abuses still go on, and the president's proposals to reform the programs don't go far enough.

    KIRK WIEBE, NSA WHISTLEBLOWER: Here we have an agency that is used to cheating. Unfortunately, then, when someone poses fixes that our policy or law, briefings, reports, yearly reviews, all of that to me is fluff.

    The only way anyone will ever again get the truth about what NSA is really doing is if a specially trained group of IT people, techies, geeks, hackers, call them what you want, identify a group that wants to do this, a group that's never been in the intelligence community, hire them, give them computers and network access and the clearances to delve into NSA's databases--and I'm talking about all of the databases that it uses to do its thing--and verify that data is not being collected that shouldn't be, that data is not being looked at that should be, that data is not being given to people to whom it should not be given. Until we have that kind of oversight, the cheating that's gone on for 41 years of its existence is going to happen again and again and again.

    DESVARIEUX: President Obama addressed the bulk collection of telephone records under Section 215.

    OBAMA: This program does not involve the content of phone calls, or the names of people making calls. Instead, it provides a record of phone numbers and the times and lengths of calls--metadata that can be queried if and when we have a reasonable suspicion that a particular number is linked to a terrorist organization.

    WIEBE: The president used the word, quote, "reasonable suspicion"--the words. This is dangerous. For the life of the nation, we have always interpreted the key clause in the Fourth Amendment guaranteeing your right to privacy to be based on probable cause. Without probable cause, no one has the right to go through your personal effects--papers, things, stuff. They have no right.

    DESVARIEUX: The president also made recommendations of how to oversee regulation.

    OBAMA: We will appoint a senior official at the White House to implement the new privacy safeguards that I have announced today. I will devote the resources to centralize and improve the process we use to handle foreign requests for legal assistance, keeping our high standards for privacy while helping foreign partners fight crime and terrorism.

    RUSS TICE, NSA WHISTLEBLOWER: When the president says he's going to, you know, put these people, he's going to have somebody in the White House who's going to be a SIGINT representative, who is this person? Is it going to be a shill of the White House? Is it going to be a rep from the intelligence community? Is this person really going to be objective in what they do? The oversight board that they've just set up, if you look at the people involved in that board, you'll see that those people are not objective, that they all have stakes in the intelligence community.

    DESVARIEUX: NSA whistleblower Bill Binney says the collection of metadata is not necessary if you want to go after suspected terrorists.

    WILLIAM BINNEY, NSA WHISTLEBLOWER: So if you do the targeted acquisition, you'll have all the information that's relevant to foreign threats or international crime, and you won't have to be doing bulk collection or having data that would be penetrated by the FBI or anybody else that would look at it that's not supposed to be there. You would be doing a legitimate acquisition of information of targets that posed a threat.

    DESVARIEUX: The president did make one notable reform, which would be to pursue phone calls two degrees removed from suspects.

    OBAMA: Effective immediately, we will only pursue phone calls that are two steps removed from a number associated with a terrorist organization instead of the current three. And I have directed the attorney general to work with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, so that during this transition period, the database can be queried only after a judicial finding or in the case of a true emergency.

    BINNEY: He did pick up some of our suggestions, a two-degree approach, focusing on that, but you're still maintaining the bulk collection. If you do that two degrees, one of the principal--one of the parts of it, to do the targeted approach, then you don't need to collect the bulk. You don't need the rest of that; you don't need to maintain those large databases to store all this material, you don't have to hire all those contractors to manage it, and it saves you a lot of money and effort in the long run.

    But the other thing also that I thought he should go for--and we will make this recommendation again--is he needs to include into this process privacy protections for U.S. citizens if they are pulled into this database, even in the targeted approach. And you do that by encrypting all of their attributes so you can't tell who they are, so that the FBI or CIA or any DEA or any law enforcement agency can't come into that database and go after individuals.

    DESVARIEUX: President Obama also addressed the issue of spying on foreign leaders.

    OBAMA: Our intelligence agencies will continue to gather information about the intentions of governments--as opposed to ordinary citizens--around the world, in the same way that the intelligence services of every other nation does.

    WIEBE: The president said, no more spying on foreign leaders. And yet at some point, if you remember, he said, we reserve the right to look at all nations' intentions. You know, what's "intentions"? Does that include foreign leaders? So there's some clarity that has to be sought on that specific issue.

    DESVARIEUX: The whistleblowers called for a means to independently verify that Americans' Fourth Amendment rights are being protected.

    BINNEY: Have a hacker set of people type, technology people to be able to penetrate every network, every database, and every transaction, look at all the programs and everything they're doing internally inside NSA. That way you could verify everything that they have, everything that they do, and everything that they say.

    DESVARIEUX: The whistleblowers also pointed to what was not mentioned in the president's speech. The Guardian recently reported that the NSA collects 200 million text messages a day in untargeted global sweep,--

    WIEBE: That's content, folks. That's not metadata. It was never mentioned. And the White House knew about it, had to have.

    DESVARIEUX: --a point that President Obama did not mention in his speech.

    For The Real News Network, Jessica Desvarieux, Washington.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    19 Killed in Gaza as Israel Strikes Second UN Compound in a Week
    IRS Failing to Regulate Dark-Money Political Spending
    Could Britain Be Leaving the EU?
    Racing to a Dead End - Heiner Flassbeck on Reality Asserts Itself (2/5)
    Obama Joins EU in Sanctioning Russia as Ukraine's Civilian Death Toll Mounts
    Who's Profiting from Israel's Offensive in Gaza?
    Iran Nuclear Negotiations Remain Deadlocked, Receive 4-Month Extension
    The Politics of Going Green
    Who Bears Responsibility for Civilian Deaths in Gaza?
    Despite Growing International Condemnation, No End to Gaza Violence in Sight
    Reaganism and Thatcherism were Intellectually Dishonest - Heiner Flassbeck on Reality Asserts Itself (1/5)
    Besieged War-Torn Gaza Experiencing Saddest Eid Since 1967
    Do US Satellite Images Show Russia Firing Rockets into Ukraine?
    Uber: Cheap Ride Alternative or Death Knell for Cabbies?
    Gaza Baker Risks Life Amid War to Provide Bread
    New Senate Bill Fails To Address Root Causes of Central American Migration
    One-Man Show "Mercy Killers" Reveals Dark Side of Healthcare System
    Nigerians Must Defend Themselves, Oppose the State of Emergency and US Intervention (3/3)
    Why Canada Continues to Back Israel Despite Gaza Assault
    UN's Investigation of Israel Should Go Beyond War Crimes to Genocide
    12-Hour Truce in Gaza, Protests in the West Bank
    Al-Aqsa Brigades Open Fire on Israeli Forces at the Qalandia Checkpoint.
    From Palestine to Baltimore, Protesters Demand an End to Bloody Gaza Assault
    Israel Boycott Gains Traction As Gaza Assault Continues
    No Safe Place in Gaza: How Silence Encouraged a Genocide
    Detroit Water Shutoffs on Pause, but Is It Enough?
    Obamacare Subsides on the Line
    TRNN Gaza Reporter's Family Killed in Israeli Assault
    Is Israeli Public Opinion Turning after 700 Palestinian Deaths?
    Big Oil and the Nigerian Frankenstein (2/3)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting