Former NSA analyst and whistleblower Kirk Wiebe says potential whistleblowers will be silenced with new mass surveillance system
JESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.
The Associated Press has learned that federal agencies are planning to continually monitor workers with secret clearances. The AP reports that their goal is to, quote, identify rogue agents, corrupt officials, and leakers. The program would reportedly affect 4 million employees.
Now joining us to discuss these latest revelations is Kirk Wiebe. He is a former NSA senior intelligence analyst and an NSA whistleblower who worked with the NSA for more than 32 years.
Thank you for joining us, Kirk.
J. KIRK WIEBE, FORMER SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ANALYST, NSA: Jessica, it’s good to be with you today.
DESVARIEUX: So, Kirk, I’m just going to present to you the counterargument here, because you’re going to have people hearing this story saying this is what people signed up for, essentially. If you have top security clearance, you should expect that the government is going to monitor what you do. What’s your response?
WIEBE: No, this is different, Jessica. This isn’t what we signed up to. When you join the intelligence community, you actually become a member of a huge organization that goes beyond the boundaries of individual agencies to the very Constitution itself. We’re all sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And that runs from the seniormost person, whether it’s the director of an agency, all the way down to the lowliest employee on the GS scale, government service pay scale, right down to a GS1, someone who mops the floors or whatever. So it’s a bond, and it’s a promise of loyalty, and it’s a promise of I’ll take care of you and you take care of me, we’re in this thing together, let’s win the war for freedom. This undermines that whole premise.
DESVARIEUX: And how does it do it?
WIEBE: Well, it’s–historically I would point back to what the German SS did, what the Gestapo did, what the East German Stasi did. Pick your favorite secret police organization. It says there are a certain elite group–and this would, of course, be the leadership. Now, they haven’t defined the leadership, but I would presume it would be heads of agencies, their senior staff, probably down to some GS level on the pay scale, maybe everybody above GS15, what we call the senior executive service, the highest-paid in government. And I’m sure the congressional committees would be exempt and other members of the executive branch. So it now puts a marker, a line of separation between us, the workers, and them, the leaders. And it says, we the leaders are going to spy on you, we’re going to treat you as though you are a potential terrorist or a potential cheat or a potential whistleblower, whatever, you name it, and we’re going to monitor everything you do 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.
DESVARIEUX: Kirk, I’m glad you mention potential whistleblowers, because I want to get your take. Do you see this surveillance having an effect on whistleblowers shedding light on corruptions and things like that?
WIEBE: Oh, absolutely. This is going to shut the door. This will shut the door. And, in fact, it may have an unintended consequence, Jessica, in the very short term, near term. What I mean is if there are any whistleblowers in the intelligence community sitting there right now who have not yet blown the whistle, potential whistleblowers, but who are aware of unfairness, wrongdoing, corruption, behavior that’s anti-Constitutional in any way, this may actually force them to come out and blow the whistle sooner, rather than wait until this legislation is in place.
Right now my understanding is this is not in place, but it is something that’s being seriously planned to be done. So we shall see about that.
DESVARIEUX: Alright. Kirk Wiebe, thank you so much for joining us.
WIEBE: My pleasure, Jessica. Thank you.
DESVARIEUX: And as you know, you can always follow us on Twitter @therealnews. And please send me questions and comments @Jessica_Reports.
Thank you so much for joining us on The Real News Network.
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