NSA whistleblower prosecutions continue under Obama

Thomas Drake

Thomas Drake

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Legal observers were surprised late last week when a grand jury in Baltimore indicted a former senior official of the US National Security Agency (NSA) for leaking classified information to a local newspaper reporter. The indictment, which was publicized last Thursday, accuses Thomas A. Drake of exchanging hundreds of email messages with a reporter, in which he exposed aspects of the NSA’s alleged mismanagement and operational deficiencies. Court documents do not identify the reporter, or the news outlet for which she worked. But most observers have identified her as Siobhan Gorman, who now works for The Wall Street Journal. Between 2006 and 2007, while working for The Baltimore Sun, Gorman authored a series of articles on the NSA, exposing, among other things, severe mismanagement of outsourced signals collection programs, as well as the Agency’s trouble in securing enough electrical supply for its computational requirements. Read more of this post

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Wiretap whistleblower shunned by US Congress, media

Mark Klein

Mark Klein

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Those of you who have been following the ongoing revelations about STELLAR WIND, the National Security Agency (NSA) warrantless wiretapping scheme authorized by the Bush Administration in the wake of 9/11, will know about Thomas M. Tamm. Tamm was the Justice Department official who in 2005 first notified The New York Times about the existence of the project. But Tamm was not the only whistleblower in the case. He was joined soon afterwards by another insider, Mark Klein. Klein had just retired from AT&T as a communications technician when he read The New York Times revelations about STELLAR WIND. As soon as he read the paper’s vague description of the NSA project, Klein realized he had in his possession AT&T documents describing exactly how the company shared its customers’ telephone communications with the NSA, through a secret room at the AT&T Folsom Street facility in San Francisco. To this day, Klein remains the only AT&T employee to have come forward with information on STELLAR WIND. But, apparently, nobody cares. Read more of this post

NSA tried to spy on US Congress member

Thomas Tamm

Thomas Tamm

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
An anonymous intelligence official has told The New York Times that the National Security Agency (NSA) attempted to wiretap the personal communications of a US Congressman without court approval. The gigantic US government agency, which is tasked with worldwide communications surveillance, as well as communications security, believed that the Congressman “was in contact […] with an extremist who had possible terrorist ties and was already under surveillance”, said the paper. NSA agents tried therefore to set in motion a warrantless communications interception operation against the Congressman, while he participated in a “Congressional delegation to the Middle East”, either in 2005 or 2006. Read more of this post

NSA whistleblower reveals routine spying on American media

Russell Tice

Russell Tice

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Russell Tice, an analyst with the National Security Agency (NSA) until 2005, was among several inside sources who in 2005 helped The New York Times reveal NSA’s warrantless spying program. A few months earlier, Tice had been fired by the NSA after he started to investigate a suspicious communications-monitoring program he was involved in. The last time Mr. Tice spoke publicly about his experience at the NSA was in 2006. He then waited until the Bush Administration was out of the White House before he made any more revelations. Hours after Barack Obama’s inauguration, Tice surfaced again, this time giving an interview to MSNBC’s Keith Olberman. Read more of this post

DoJ continues criminal investigation of NSA whistleblower

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Last month, Thomas M. Tamm, a former US Justice Department official, revealed himself as the source who initially tipped off The New York Times about NSA’s operation STELLAR WIND, a domestic warrantless spying program, which was secretly authorized by the Bush Administration in the wake of 9/11. New York Times journalists James Risen and Eric Lichtblau eventually revealed the program in a front page article, relying on interviews with nearly a dozen undisclosed insiders. Despite numerous indications that STELLAR WIND may be unconstitutional, and despite the impending change of guard at the White House, the US Department of Justice appears to be actively pursuing its criminal investigation of Tamm. Read more of this post

Journalist talks about revealing NSA program whistleblower

Michael Isikoff, the Newsweek investigative correspondent who authored the recent article about Thomas Tamm, the whistleblower of NSA’s domestic spying program, has given an interview to Democracy Now. Isikoff, who wrote the article with Tamm’s consent, states in the interview that “Tamm’s lawyers have been told that US Department of Justice officials [are going to leave] the decision on whether to prosecute [Tamm] to the Obama Justice Department”. Read more of this post

Analysis: Speculation rife about NSA’s STELLAR WIND project

Tamm on the cover of Newsweek

Tamm on the cover of Newsweek

The recent voluntary coming forth of Thomas M. Tamm as the whistleblower behind NSA’s warrantless wiretapping scheme has considerably revived speculation about the Agency’s STELLAR WIND project, which appears to have both oral communications and data surveillance components. A superb analysis published in Ars Technica yesterday reasons that the data surveillance component of project STELLAR WIND, which was first revealed in 2006, is in fact far broader and potentially far more controversial than its wireless wiretapping aspect. The article reminds that, in the past, STELLAR WIND has been referred to in public as the Terrorist Surveillance Program, though “that seems to have been invented after the fact to allow officials to testify before Congress on the aspects of STELLAR WIND that had been exposed without admitting to any of the activities that hadn’t yet come to light”. Read more of this post