Former NSA Codebreaker: No One Listened When I Tried To Blow The NSA Whistle Years Ago


William Binney, a codebreaking specialist whom the National Security Agency enlisted to help decipher electronic data to foil post-Sept. 11 terror plots, recently told CBS Baltimore his attempt several years ago to protest the agency’s abuse of its growing tech powers led only to personal heartache as the government pushed back against his vocal concern.

Binney was brought in by the NSA after the World Trade Center attacks to help develop new software that could mine enormous amounts of cell phone and email data he believed the agency was collecting legally to target potential foreign terrorists.

But as he helped build the new computer program and gained access to exactly how indiscriminate the spy agency’s surveillance methods were, he backed away.

“The idea was, ‘How can you look into terabytes of data going by every minute and see what’s important in that data that you need to pull out to look at and analyze to figure out intentions, capabilities of potential enemies in the world,’” he told CBS. “The data that was being taken in was all about United States citizens. They’re destroying our democracy is what they’re doing.”

Binney maintains that Congress, for all its outrage over the Edward Snowden revelations, has for years failed to listen to other would-be whistleblowers who tried to effect change by legal means. “The government can’t admit a mistake. They have to cover up everything,” he said.

Frustrated at the stonewalling, and unwilling to collude with the government in an endeavor he knew to be illegal and wrong, Binney resigned from his job.

For his trouble, the FBI raided him in 2007 on suspicion that he had already divulged too much.

“They pushed their way in with guns drawn and pushed my son out of the way and came upstairs and pointed guns at my wife and me. They took our computers and all the electronic equipment we had,” he said.

“I think they’re violating the foundation of this country. The thing that makes this country strong are the rights and freedoms that we have in the Constitution.”

Read the full CBS Baltimore report here.

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • squeeze127

    Repeal the Patriot Act! Another oxymoron for an act. Just like the Affordable Care Act. Government cannot be trusted with so much power.

  • garygerke

    Repeal the government and start over!

  • Alan

    Govt. by thug intimidation.

  • Peggy

    And just why are Americans just now privy to this information. I believe, I would have drove directly to the nearest news office, and starting letting people know of this injustice immediately. If Americans do not bother to wake up and start helping their own, do NOT expect the government to do anything but take advantage as long as they can. Just like the king our ancestors went to war against to WIN our freedoms, which we now do not even have the guts to defend. AFRAID is how to describe us now.

    • vicki

      Snowden did as you suggested. You saw what happened to him.

      • rhondareichel

        He’s better off…..even Russia is not this corrupt

  • Peggy

    Vicki–AS I stated–Americans need to stand up for one of their own–As a whole, we just cannot be bothered and as long as it doesn’t disrupt our little space, we just do not bother–I am really proud our forefathers who did NOT feel this way. They stood firm and strong and stood to lose everything even their lives and that is what it seems to be heading towards again. Either you stand up for what is right or you live as others tell you to.