International Business Times: FISA Court Should Directly Monitor Spying
Agency, Former NSA Analyst Says
July 25, 2013
Summary: This article quotes NSA whistleblowers Thomas Drake, Bill Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe, all of whom spoke yesterday at a GAP conference at the National Press Club. The three former spy agency employees tried to draw attention to massive illegality, waste and abuse within the surveillance programs during the years following 9/11. Now, the three argue for increased accountability and oversight at the NSA, the public's trust for which has fundamentally deteriorated since Edward Snowden’s recent disclosures.
GAP’s conference, "Whistleblowers, Journalists and the New War Within," focused on the NSA and issues surrounding journalists attempting to do their jobs, working with sources in America’s increasingly harsh surveillance state.
Video of the event will be posted on GAP's website in the next few days.
Key Quote: Wiebe, Binney and Drake spoke Thursday morning at a panel discussion in Washington, D.C., titled "Whistleblowers, Journalists and the New War Within," hosted by the Government Accountability Project, a whistle-blower advocacy group.
Recalling their time at the NSA during the panel discussion, Wiebe, Binney and Drake described the agency as hostile to oversight attempts by the intelligence committees as well as the 9/11 commission’s efforts to find out what went wrong in the lead up to the terrorist attacks. Drake, who helped investigators on the 9/11 commission, discussed during Thursday’s panel how he was warned about leaking to the commission. As detailed in the New Yorker report, then-NSA Director Michael Hayden was furious when he discovered Binney had met with a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee, whose job it is to oversee the agency.
US News & World Report: NSA Whistleblowers Defend Snowden’s Decision to Flee
July 25, 2013
Summary: More coverage of GAP’s conference at the National Press Club yesterday, quoting clients Drake, Binney and Wiebe, who spoke strongly against the “self interest, ego and arrogance of the NSA” as part of a larger panel discussion on national security and the threats facing whistleblowers and journalists today. The three NSA whistleblowers are understandably empathetic to Snowden’s current situation, having felt the full force of government retaliation for speaking out.
Key Quote: Binney and Wiebe worked with Drake – whose involvement was not initially disclosed – and two other NSA employees to expose to government oversight officials in 2002 the Trailblazer Project, which was allegedly selected over a less-intrusive, less-expensive alternative. They argued the program violated the Fourth Amendment, squandered taxpayer money and made intelligence-collecting overbroad and therefore less effective.
"I don't know what other choice he had," Binney said of Snowden's decision to become a fugitive. "He felt his only option was to leave the country and I don't blame him.
Washington Post: Prosecutor Portrays Pfc. Bradley Manning as Traitor During Closing Arguments
July 25, 2013
Summary: The closing arguments in the trial of military whistleblower Bradley Manning saw the prosecution proclaiming one last time that Manning is a "methodical, attention-seeking traitor." Hoping to secure the ‘aiding the enemy’ verdict, along with convictions for 20 other charges, the prosecution called Manning a "capable soldier" acting with "evil intent."
Reuters: Kremlin Says Russian Agencies in Talks on Snowden
Summary: Russia’s federal security agency, FSB, is speaking with the FBI today over the fate of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who remains at Moscow’s Shremetyevo airport, for the time being.