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Whistleblower Former NSA Exec Thomas Drake On Obama's Speech, Bengazi, 911 and more- part 1

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After attending a pre-lecture reception, then a one hour lecture, then doing dinner with Thomas Drake, that lasted almost five hours, I got together three days later with Thomas and did what turned out to be an almost 2.5 hour interview. This is the first hour of the interview. 

From wikipedia:   Thomas Drake is a former senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), a decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran, and a whistleblower .  

In 2010 the government alleged that Drake "mishandled" documents, one of the few such Espionage Act cases in U.S. history. Drake's defenders claim that he was instead being persecuted for challenging the Trailblazer Project On June 9, 2011, all 10 original charges against him were dropped. Drake rejected several deals because he refused to "plea bargain with the truth". He eventually pled to one misdemeanor count for exceeding authorized use of a computer;

He is the 2011 recipient of the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling and co-recipient of the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) award.

Rough Interview Notes (mostly my questions)

First, a little background. You were a senior executive at NSA. What was your highest position and title? How senior is that?

Hired by General Michael B. Hayden

Hired by number three person at NSA-- Maureen Maginsky Signals Intelligence Director

         First day on job was 911. 

What was your job? 

It was kind of a bait and switch-- High level-- senior change leader-- reporting the third in charge at NSA. 

Peers included Chris"    who was".

Rob: There was a lot of pressure on Hayden. Where was the pressure coming from?

     NSA was struggling making the shift from the analog to digital world. NSA believed that there were no secrets worth knowing on the internet. Post cold-war era threw NSA into a severe identity crisis. Who's the enemy? 

What did you do at the CIA and how was the CIA different from NSA?

SigInt ElInt  Looking at weapons of mass destruction. 

can you talk about the Culture at nsa, theDecision making process, Institutionalized Pathology, and Institutional dynamics, as we talked about at dinner.

NSA formed by secret orders by Truman, in response to cold war. 

NSA has always been headed by a military general-- fundamentally a military and collection agency. 

NSA had the habit of violating the constitution on significant scale, for example, operation Shamrock-- came out in Guardian yesterday, revealed by Snowden-- bulk collection of all Telexes going through the United States. 

Could you tell us what a telex is?   

So, the point is that NSA has been secretly collecting private messages by US citizens for decades. 

NSA has had the propensity to violate

Operation Minaret-- severe abuse of the extraordinary power of NSA. They were always looking for ways to make the box bigger, or draw the lines outside".   in the 1970s.

     Prime Directive--  you don't spy on Americans-- persons, corporations, no matter where they were, without a warrant. 

Rob: Did they ever disapprove and requests for warrants?

       only a handful over 23 years. 

Rob: During our dinner you said there was a pathology there, in the NSA culture"

transition from industrial era-- switches and "pots"-- dials 

The challenge they had was cultural.

You referred to institutionalized pathology. 

Top down problem?

NSA considered that they would actually allow the work force the ability to use email?

They wouldn't be able to control the messages. Control here was crucial. 

Obsession to control and own the information. Owning means "we need to take and we store and we get to say what happens. 

Rob: Today Obama talked about taking the data away from them. Do you think that's going to happen?

has this ability that even w hen you are in the reality distortion field, even reporters who should know better are caught up in the distortion. 

He didn't say the collection would end. 

His speech is a presidential pack of lies hiding behind the mote of mendacity. 

There are bulk surveillance programs that have yet to be disclosed. 

TSP is to metadata what the PSP is to content. 

They're desperate to protect the fact that they are not only doing metadata, " the metadata is just an index of the content and just a click away. 

NSA is bulk copying upward of 200 million text messages daily. 

So, your overall response to Obama's statement today is:

He's only given the speech because of Snowden. There's no other reason. He's having to reluctantly acknowledge that there's been significant pressure. 

He's  not going to talk about other activities that have yet to be disclosed. 

NSL national security letters-- mechanism in which they can use FBI". NSL is a warrantless mechanism that gives executive branch extraordinary powers without having to establish an probably cause. 

You said, "There are bulk surveillance programs that have yet to be disclosed." How do you know about them?

How smartness gets in the way.   Never admit what u don't know

Rob: Obama said today: " We were shaken by the signs we had missed leading up to the attacks, how the hijackers had made phone calls to known extremists and traveled to suspicious places. So we demanded that our intelligence community improve its capabilities and that law enforcement change practices to focus more on preventing attacks before they happen than prosecuting terrorists after an attack."

Rob: From what you've said, they already had the techology, already had the information. 

Rob: So, The secret is power until it is given up. 

Tom: You have to parse every single word of Obama's speech. You can't read it as plain language. 

From my review of your case, the government repeatedly abused powers of secrecy. 

How do you respond to truthers about the falling building. 

 nothing in that initial review and nothing that I have learned since indicated that our intelligence community has sought to violate the law or is cavalier about the civil liberties of their fellow citizens.

Tom: He's lying, because the FISA itself, from what's been declassified, contradicts that". We're talking NSA itself was basically in contempt of even the Foreign intelligence surveillance orders. 

Discussing Snowden, Obama described how his actions resulted in "revealing methods to our adversaries that could impact our operations in ways that we might not fully understand for years to come."

Rob: Has Snowden revealed operations to our adversaries?

Tom: No. ". but"  

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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