The NSA’s image took a major hit when Edward Snowden revealed to the world the vast scope of their surveillance programs.
The scandal centered around the NSA’s collection of “metadata”, which includes things like when and where calls or texts are coming from, as well as other passive information like where in a computer network certain data is coming from.
Many people thought the public was overreacting. I heard more than a few people saying something along the lines of, “It’s not like they’re recording my actual conversations.”
Well, apparently they are.
William Binney was a career NSA employee. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War and was a high-level agent with the NSA when he left in disgust following the drastic increase in surveillance after 9/11.
Last Thursday (July 5), he spoke at a conference organized by the Center for Investigative Journalism in London. In his speech, he claimed that NSA surveillance is actually much more personal than just metadata collection:
“At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US… This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”
Binney praised the courage and work of Edward Snowden, and expressed optimism about recent Supreme Court decisions that have made it illegal for officers to go through your smartphone without a warrant. But he didn’t mince his words when he said,
“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control.”
The most recent leaks from Snowden showed that the vast majority of the communications intercepted by the NSA are composed of Americans with no connection to extremism.
Of 160,000 individual intercepts given to the Washington Post by Snowden, nearly 90% were communications of bystanders who weren’t even NSA targets.
“The NSA is mass-collecting on everyone, and it’s said to be about terrorism but inside the US it has stopped zero attacks,”
Binney said at his appearance in London. He also pointed out that despite its vast surveillance capabilities and resources, the NSA was unable to foresee both the Russian intervention in Ukraine and he rise of ISIS in the middle east.
Read the full story from The Guardian here.
You can also check out a recent interview that Binney did with RT News here.