[NetBehaviour] Eavesdropping powers abused without oversight

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Fri Oct 10 10:32:47 CEST 2008

Eavesdropping powers abused without oversight

(updated below - Update II - Update III)

In the most unsurprising revelation imaginable, two former Army Reserve 
Arab linguists for the National Security Agency have said that they 
routinely eavesdropped on — “and recorded and transcribed” — the private 
telephone calls of American citizens who had absolutely nothing to do 
with terrorism.  The two former NSA employees, who came forward as part 
of journalist James Bamford’s forthcoming book on the NSA, intercepted 
calls as part of the so-called “Terrorist  Surveillance Program,” 
whereby George Bush ordered the NSA in 2001 to eavesdrop on Americans’ 
calls in secret, without first obtaining judicial approval as required 
by the law (FISA).  That illegal eavesdropping continued for at least 
six years — through 2007.

The two NSA whistleblowers, Adrienne Kinne and David Murfee Faulk, were 
interviewed by ABC News’ Brian Ross.  Kinne said that “US military 
officers, American journalists and American aid workers were routinely 
intercepted and ‘collected on’ as they called their offices or homes in 
the United States.”  He also said his co-workers “were ordered to 
transcribe these calls.”   Faulk told Ross:  ”when one of my co-workers 
went to a supervisor and said:  ’but sir, there are personal calls,’ the 
supervisor said: ‘my orders were to transcribe everything’.”   He said 
that the intercepted calls included highly personal and intimate 
conversations and even phone sex.

When Ross showed Kinne a video excerpt of George Bush insisting to the 
nation that only those with links to Al Qaeda were eavesdropped on as 
part of his illegal spying program, the following exchange occurred:

    ROSS:  Kinne says she listened to hundreds of Americans simply 
calling their families …

    KINNE:  Personal, private things with Americans who are not in any 
way, shape or form associated with anything having anything to do with 
terrorism. It was just personal conversations that nobody else should 
have been listening to.

    ROSS:  President Bush has reassured Americans again and again:

        GEORGE BUSH:  It’s phone calls of known Al Qaeda suspects making 
a phone call into the United States.

    KINNE:  I would say that that is completely a lie  —  I would call 
it a lie — because we were definitely listening to Americans who had 
nothing to do with terrorism…


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