The TSA, DHS and countless other security agencies have been established to keep America safe from terrorist attacks in post-9/11 America. How far beyond that does the feds' reach really go, though?
The attacks of September 11, 2001 were instrumental in getting the US government to establish counterterrorism agencies to curb future tragedies. Some officials say that they haven't stopped there, though, and are spying on everyone in America.
Testimonies delivered in recent weeks by former employees of the National Security Agency suggest that the government is going beyond what most of America thinks they do in order to keep the country terrorist-free. Former NSA staffers even say that theirs old agency has actually been spying on the entire country — all in the name of national security.
On an interview carried on Current TV's Viewpoint program on Monday, former NSA Technical Director William Binney commented on the state of blanketing surveillance along with colleagues Thomas Drake and Kirk Wiebe, the agency's former senior official and senior analyst, respectively. The broadcast comes on the heels of a series of speeches given by Binney, who has quickly become more known for his whistle-blowing than his work with the NSA. In their latest appearance this week, though, all three former staffers corroborated on earlier accounts by suggesting that America's spy program is really more dangerous that others deem it to be.
Speaking to Viewpoint host Eliot Spitzer, Drake said there was a "key decision made shortly after 9/11, which began to rapidly turn the United States of America into the equivalent of a foreign nation for dragnet blanket electronic surveillance."
Although this accusation has been supported by claims that it is for national security, says that it doesn't stop there. In fact, warns the former NSA official, the government is giving themselves the power to put intel on every American aside for potential future crimes.
"When you open up the Pandora's Box of just getting access to incredible amounts of data, for people that have no reason to be put under suspicion, no reason to have done anything wrong, and just collect all that for potential future use or even current use, it opens up a real danger — and to what else what they could use that data for, particularly when it's all being hidden behind the mantle of national security," Drake said.
Although Drake's accusations seem astounding, they corroborate allegations launched by Binney only a week earlier. Speaking at the Hackers On Planet Earth conference in New York City earlier in the month, Binney addressed a room of thousands by speaking about the NSA's domestic spying. But in a candid interview with journalist Geoff Shively during HOPE, the ex-agency official admitted that things really are rather scary.
"Domestically, they're pulling together all the data about virtually every U.S. citizen in the country and assembling that information, building communities that you have relationships with, and knowledge about you; what your activities are; what you're doing. So the government is accumulating that kind of information about every individual person and it's a very dangerous process," Binney claims.
Both statements from the former NSA official come on the heels of a revelation that law enforcement officers collected the cell phone records of 1.3 million Americans in 2011 alone. By carrying out this and similar requests under provisions in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and using National Security Letters, though, news articles are emerging everyday suggesting that the surveillance of Americans — off the radar and under wraps — is becoming occurring more and more exponentially by the minute.