The transcript of my interview with Whistleblower Bill Binney, an American Hero in my mind.
NSA Whistleblower-- William Binney: Corruption in NSA, Lies About Snowden, Threats to Democracy
A transcript of my interview with William Binney. Listen here: Podcast/NSA-Whistlebower-American-by-Rob-Kall-America-Freedom-To-Fascism_FISA_IMPEACHMENT-OFF-THE-TABLE-PELOSI_
R.K.: And welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show WNJC 1360 AM out of Washington Township reaching Metro Philadelphia and South New Jersey, sponsored by opednews.com. Tonight my guest is an American Hero. He is a Whistleblower His name is William Binney, Bill Binney. He was technical director of the World Geopolitical and Military Analysis and Reporting Group at NSA. It's a high level position at NSA. He left to become a Whistleblower, basically, to report problems. In exchange for reporting problems he had his home raided, he was charged with crimes and his life was destroyed in so many ways because that's what the Federal Government does to Whistleblowers. Welcome to the show, Bill.
W.B.: Thank you. Thanks for having me.
R.K.: And thank you so much for what you have done for us all. Tell me a little bit about your work at NSA.
W.B.: I was kind of in the technical track so basically my job was to deal with technical problems that the agency had and the last job I had with the world I was looking at technical problems all around the world and I had to deal with those and try to solve them for the agency to use. That was fundamentally what I did. Before that I was basically looking at the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact in the Cold War days and I solved crypto problems, codes and ciphers and things like that with that problem. I was basically looking at technical aspects of the problem at NSA.
R.K.: So you wrote codes, you helped design codes, you created algorithms. You are a math guy, so you were looking at doing code breaking, cryptology, right?
W.B.: Yes. That's right. Yeah. That was my primary thing. That's how you can gain understanding of potential enemies and what their intentions are and their capabilities so that was the whole objective with the intelligence production process at NSA.
R.K.: Now that put you into the SIGINT part, right? Signals Intelligence?
W.B.: Yes, yes that's right.
R.K.: And just in a quick overview, what are the other kinds of intelligence? There's SIGINT which is Signals Intelligence, there's -
W.B.: Well actually SIGINT breaks into two parts, really. Com-Int which is communications intelligence, that is people communicating with other people, that's where I was. Or E-lint, electronic intelligence. That's like radars and telemetry and machines talking with machines, that kind of thing.
But then of course CIA did Hum-Int, Human Intelligence and NRO did Picture Intelligence if you will and we had all the other kinds of intelligence that would be gather material around the world and the Hum-Int part that dealt with recruiting sources of information within other countries or other governments or that kind of thing .
R.K.: Right. So, near the end of the time you were working there, you were working on an important project, what was the name of the project?
W.B.: I had a number of them about five running at the same time but the one that was dealing with the world problem that's the most important problem in the world was called Thin Thread and that was designed to handle massive amounts of communications and figure out in that massive amount of communications what was important for us to pull out so that analysts could analyze and look at and deal with the problems of foreign intelligence or foreign threats, international crime, things of that nature.
R.K.: And how is that similar to what NSA is doing now?
W.B.: Well it's a totally different approach, I mean what we were doing was targeted collection of information or selection of information out of the data flow around the world. That is we had knowledge about those targets and went in based on that knowledge and pulled out information relevant to those targets.
NSA now is simply taking in bulk collection of everything they can get their hands on, which includes everybody in the world so that fundamentally changed the perspective from if you use the needle in the haystack analogy it's like what we did was looking at, pulling together a very small haystack with a needle in it that was relatively easy to find and then making the haystack orders of magnitude bigger so it's much more difficult to find that needle.
R.K.: I spent like ten hours with you yesterday and Tom Drake as Westchester University where you and Tom gave a talk and afterwards we had dinner and you have argued that it's not a good thing to do to have this giant haystack which is the, with the idea of collecting all of the information available in the world with all the technology possible, right? Can you talk about why it's not a good idea?
W.B.: Well I mean it's not a good idea because what it does, it gives their analysts so much more data to go through every day, I mean everyday the collection is a mountain and they're forcing this mountain of data on their analysts to sort through and manually find out what's important in there.
Well that's not really effective and you can easily see that it's not effective because how many terrorist attacks have they really stopped using this approach since 9/11?
R.K.: How many?
W.B.: Zero. The answer is zero. They had success with some stuff overseas but principally that's been because of other, like the Pakistanis might tip us off about something or the British or someone else but not from this bulk collection program.
R.K.: Now why was your approach better?
W.B.: Well because it illuminated all of the extraneous material of seven billion people in the world and they're only focused down on targets of interests and a very finite zone of suspicion around them in terms of the relationships in the world and so that was easily definable by the meta data being used to communicate in phone numbers or email addresses or bank account transfers or things like that.
So it was a fairly focused attack on data and it made the problem of the volume of communications in the world a manageable problem by the numbers of people we had; whereas the bulk collection simply inundates them with a flood of data that they can't possibly get through every day.
R.K.: So at dinner last night I brought up the idea that maybe this is hoarding behavior like we see on these reality TV shows. People are stuck with this obsessive idea that they have to hold on to and collect everything and keep it.
W.B.: I am sure that that's part of it but I think the other part is they have another alternative motive for collecting everything and that's for law enforcement.
Now law enforcement might want to have the ability to investigate anybody in this country or anybody in any other country and so in which case you would want to collect all the data about everybody in the world and that's basically what they're doing so that would be very useful to law enforcement and we have known the FBI, I mean Director Mueller said that in his interview with Bart Gellman in March of 2011 they had been using these Stellar Wind domestic spying programs for the FBI since 2001 and that's to retroactively analyze everything that anybody in the United States, any citizen is doing, or anybody else when they're in the United States.
R.K.: Now Stellar Wind who is the replacement for your Thin Thread program, that was this giant haystack approach, right?
W.B.: Well they took part of the Thin Thread program to use it to run the Stellar Wind program. Because it was able to handle massive amounts of data and so they simply flooded it with massive amounts of data on domestic and international - well Stellar Wind program focused specifically on domestic communications within the United States. They had other programs to do the foreign, that was how they labeled programs or processes. The real software running was the same in both cases it was just different inputs and those different inputs then made it a different program name.
R.K.: And that really had to do with the way that you looked at the information. In your talk yesterday you described how your approach - you basically qualify somebody to be of interest if they've had any contact with other people who are qualified as of interest and can't tell who they are until you get a court order getting permission to do it or something like that?
W.B.: Yes the idea was if you had for example a known terrorist in Yemen or somewhere overseas in the Middle East calling into the United States to a person in the United States you could follow the transactions involved but any of the attributes that person in the United States you would encrypt so that you couldn't tell who it was until you found some evidence, probable cause evidence that would say they should be monitored and then you would use that, under the rules they could use hot pursuit types of approaches and do that kind of acquisition of information for seventy two hours without a warrant but after that they'd have to have a warrant and that would give you that period of time to get a warrant. So once you showed probable cause then you would do a de-crypt of the attributes of that person and target them specifically.
R.K.: As opposed to what they're doing now is just collecting everything and getting it rubber-stamped through the FISA court that really doesn't do any protection of the public, right?
W.B.: Yeah what it does, the FISA court simply is giving them rulings in secret that say this is constitutional or issuing general warrants in secret. It's all being done in secret, they tried to keep it in secret but Edward Snowden has kind of exposed what they've been doing so they can't deny it now, that they've basically been creating a secret law and a secret constitution by this court.
R.K.: Secret constitution. I just want to take a little bit more background. You became a Whistleblower. What did you do and what happened?
W.B.: I was still working there when 9/11 happened and after 9/11 I was trying to think of ways and means I could help them get the bad guys but then they started pulling in data and then mid-October of 2001 they started pulling in data on every US Citizen, actually started doing bulk collecting on US Citizens.
Not foreigners, so it first started with our people in this country then it expanded to everybody else eventually in the world, but that to me was a direct violation of the constitutional rights of everybody so therefore I... and of course I knew that that decision had to have been made at the highest levels and there was no reversing it so I basically said I couldn't stay at NSA and be an accessory to violating the constitution so I had to leave.
Which I did as soon as I could which was like two and a half weeks after I found out, so they offered an early out and I quickly took it and got out so then I went to the House Intelligence Committee who's job it is to monitor these Intelligence Community agencies to make sure they do not spy on US Citizens without a warrant which is exactly what they were doing and the entire FISA court, all the intelligence committees, all of them were created after the Church Committee investigations in the mid-seventies to try to ensure that the Intelligence Community would not spy on US Citizens then and to make sure that that didn't happen.
Well that was their entire function and ensure that they only did foreign intelligence which was their charter, but they changed their charter, they modified it and went beyond their charter, and now they went completely beyond it saying this is constitutional and everybody can do domestic intelligence here. So that to me means this court should be fired, I mean we need to get rid of them. I mean they can't be secret anymore because look how corrupt they've gotten.
They've gotten so corrupt that they have agreed to secret interpretations of the laws, they have agreed to secret changes to the constitution, you know it's all being done in secret
by a finite number of judges on this court and a finite number of people in the administration and the agencies and the Department of Justice.
R.K.: Now you're talking about the FISA court, right?
R.K.: Now the FISA court has judges appointed by John Roberts the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court so he has got his hand in this in a big way.
W.B.: He should be overseeing it, I don't know if he is or not. If he is then he's a part of it, too.
R.K.: I would think that he has hand-picked these people. Don't you think that he has contributed to it and don't you think he backs them up?
W.B.: In that sense, yes. I don't know if they have discussed this with him then they certainly should have because this is a direct violation of the constitution. Again, they're so afraid of it being exposed that they haven't talked about any of this publicly so I mean, it's really in a democracy where this kind of discussion needs to be done.
It needs to be out in the open where everybody knows what is being done to them in terms of laws and in terms of the constitution. There is a process to change the constitution. If they want to amend the fourth amendment, the first amendment, the fifth amendment, they can do that but they have to get it passed through congress then ratified by the states. That's in the constitution as a way to do that.
R.K.: No, no, no, Obama goes to Justice Roberts and says hey set up these secret courts so they don't have to tell anybody about it and then the judges rubber stamp everything and it's all cool. What are you talking about? Amending the constitution?
W.B.: I'm talking about doing it in a democratic way. If we're going to be a democracy, that's the way to do it.
R.K.: Now, yesterday you said that what our government is doing is setting up a totalitarian state and if we don't stand up and speak against it we are going to get exactly that. Now you have mentioned this in other interviews before. Talk about why you say that what is going on is characteristic of a totalitarian state. How is what NSA is doing similar to a totalitarian state?
W.B.: Okay well, my background is analyzing the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries so those were totalitarian states. Certainly dictatorials, very finite numbers of people in power directing everything in the country.
And so it was very familiar to me what the KGB and the MVD did in the Soviet Union and what the East German Stasi and what other countries in Europe did, although to a lesser degree, what other European communist countries were doing and that was to find out and pull together all kinds of information on everybody in their country; for example in East Germany they had population about seventeen million and I will bet about two million were informants on the other fifteen million and they had a very large number of Stasi agents, and they were all trying to pull together all kinds of information that they possibly could on everybody in the country so if there was a problem with anyone that they perceived to be a problem they would take care of it and in the case of KGB they would either brutalize them or send them to gulags or put them in a mental institution.
You know those were the procedures they used. But the core of that, the core capability that allowed them to do that was assembling knowledge about the population and that is exactly what NSA is doing about the population of the United States and they're not keeping it just here, they're also spreading it around the world, to all the democracies around the world and that's also inspired all the non-democracies to figure, well that's the way to do business.
That's the way we have to do to it to collect information on every citizen in our country so it's really being spread worldwide and being a very destructive influence on how countries and governments operate.
R.K.: Now where does Obama fit in to this?
W.B.: Well he is approving all of this so far and if he doesn't come out this Friday to try to stop this I mean you know I would refer him to his training on the constitution. He's a constitutional lawyer. I would refer him to that and say you ought to stand up and defend the constitution as your oath of office says you will do.
R.K.: Mmm, yeah, good luck with that!
W.B.: Well I mean that's the right thing to do, isn't it?
R.K.: It is, yes. I just wrote a piece today inspired by you and Tom Drake, listing all of the ways that Obama has violated the constitution, it's a pretty long list. And I voted for him. I originally had a lot of hope for this guy but I don't anymore.
W.B.: I think you've gotten change, it just hasn't been in a hopeful way.
R.K.: So you decided you were going to tell the House Intelligence Committee. Did you what, go to the Chair? Who did you go to?
W.B.: Well I went to the senior staffer that I knew on the House Intelligence Committee. She was in charge of the NSA account at the time. So she was the senior staffer monitoring the NSA account on the House Intelligence Committee. So that was my way to get the information in through to her and so she took that to Nancy Pelosi who was the ranking member of the House at the time and also Chairman Goss, Porter Goss, who was the chair of the committee, so she took it right to the top of the House Intelligence Committee and they of course had already bought into it so they didn't do anything except refer her to go talk to General Hayden who was the Director of the NSA at the time.
R.K.: And this was in 2001?
W.B.: Yes. Well I went to her in late 2001, she went to them I think in early 2002.
W.B.: But see, the point is that that's why when impeaching George Bush came up and when Nancy Pelosi was the Speaker of the House that's why she said impeaching George Bush is off the table.
W.B.: Because she had already bought into all these programs when she was ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. She was one of only four people in Congress at the time that was briefed on these programs.
R.K.: What does that mean, "ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee?"
W.B.: It's like the senior democratic member, like if the house is controlled by the republicans a republican chairs the committee, if the chair is a republican, then the ranking member is a democrat. If the democrats chair the ranking member is a republican.
R.K.: So it's the minority chair kind of?
R.K.: So you're saying that when she became the chair of the committee, when the democrats had control of the house, when there was an opportunity for Bush to be impeached, she couldn't... could you explain in a little more detail why Pelosi couldn't put impeachment on the table?
W.B.: Sure. She was the Speaker of the House when that came up. So that meant, that the Speaker of the House has to approve things that are brought to the house floor so in other words they cannot bring the issues of impeaching George Bush unless the Speaker agrees to it. So if the Speaker doesn't agree to it, as Nancy Pelosi did not when she was Speaker, she said impeaching him is off the table, and the reason she said that is because George Bush had all that leverage against her because she had already agreed to all the programs the NSA uses to spy on US Citizens.
Also she agreed to all the programs at CIA. So that meant that she was culpable in all of this programs so he could have said to her, if you want to impeach me you're going to have to impeach yourself because you're a part of it, too. That's how they drew the leading members of congress into these programs, got them culpable in them and now they couldn't impeach him.
R.K.: So from what I have learned from our dinner last night is that really the only members of congress who have a clue about what's going on in the spy agencies are the chair and the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee and then their counterparts in the Senate Intelligence Committee, right?
W.B.: That's basically the way they have been handling it, yes.
R.K.: The rest of the members of the committee get nothing or very little?
W.B.: Right, until just recently, like the last six years I think they have been aware of most of the programs now but that didn't come until the exposure and all that in the New York Times and also the exposure in 2004 in the Department of Justice, okay?
R.K.: Now you're talking specifically about this NSA collection of information about Americans but in general, is it still the policy in congress that only the two chairs on the House and the Senate are the ones who are briefed by these spy agencies?
W.B.: Well actually it comes down to how they classify a program. Like, the spying on US Citizens was classified as a covert program, now under that classification as a covert program they can limit knowledge of congress to the gang of eight.
They don't have to do the gang of eight as they didn't with this NSA program but the gang of eight is the chair and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, the ones we've been talking about, and then the minority and the majority leaders of the House and Senate, republican and democrat leaders in the House and Senate, that makes up the gang of eight. But in this case of course when they first started, they only briefed the four members of the Intelligence Committees, ranking and chairs of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.
So they don't have to include the gang of eight but they can restrict it to the gang of eight, and that limits knowledge of congress to only key members of congress.
R.K.: And this is particularly how it is with covert operations?
W.B.: Right, that's correct. And if you look at the letter that Jane Harman sent to President Bush in January of 2006, right after the disclosure of the program, she told in that letter that he was in violation of the Intelligence Act of 1947 which was defining covert programs, in other words she was saying this is a collection program, you can't define it as a covert program and therefore you can't limit the knowledge to the gang of eight.
R.K.: So they were violating the constitution by using spin basically? And framing?
W.B.: Yes, correct.
R.K.: Wow. So you went to the House Intelligence Committee and you told them there's a problem and what kind of response did you get when it was brought to Pelosi and who was the republican who was in charge there again? What's his name?
W.B.: Well Porter Goss was the chair but the staffer that I went to was the republican staffer, that was Diane Roark -
R.K.: Diane Roark.
W.B.: and she went to Porter Goss and Nancy Pelosi and they referred her to General Hayden and he just told her to keep quiet about it, you know? That's all. So it was like, keep quiet, hush up and go about your business, don't pay any attention to this. Like pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, we're only doing secret things that you wouldn't like if you knew about them so just go away and be happy.
R.K.: So would you speculate that that's the kind of treatment at best that Ed Snowden would have gotten?
W.B.: Actually that would have been great if he got that kind of treatment but what he would have gotten was something like, well I mean for the exposure that he gave out he couldn't stick around in this country because he would have been treated like Chelsea Manning, put in isolation and perhaps going through various forms of torture like isolation.
R.K.: But let's say that he took the moderate approach that you did as a concerned loyal American and didn't take data and just went to the Intelligence Committee and said I have got a problem, there's a problem happening in NSA, I want to tell you about it. Which is what people have said that he should have done, going through the system, which is what you did, right?
W.B.: That's right. And when we went through that system doing that, all that did was bring us to their attention and then when it got leaked they blamed us and tried to frame us with - the Department of Justice tried to frame us. They sent the FBI at us and try to intimidate us and keep us quiet and over several years they attempted to indict us three separate times.
We were smart enough to be able to assemble the information that was exculpatory and would have made them look like they were pursuing malicious prosecution on us and we basically threatened them of that and that is the only thing that stopped them. Otherwise we could have ended up in jail because if you didn't know how to stop them, I mean you were really in bad shape.
R.K.: So if Snowden has done what you did, he would have probably been treated at least as badly as you were treated and what they tried to do with you was to put you in jail and prosecute you and they have continued to attempt to ruin your life. Isn't that true?
W.B.: Yes, that's right.
R.K.: So anybody that -
W.B.: I mean they destroyed our business where we were working and trying to get business, they destroyed that. They also took away our clearances and black balled us getting any kind of work anywhere around the government, anywhere.
R.K.: So what will you say to one of these pundits who have said that Snowden could have done it within the law -
W.B.: They're lying...
R.K.: or the members of Congress, what would you say to -
W.B.: I would say they're lying, that doesn't work.
R.K.: What would you say to Peter King?
W.B.: Peter King? I would say he doesn't understand the process that the government operates under. Or he's just, if he's saying it would work it's just a lie.
R.K.: Okay. So -
W.B.: After all, Whistleblowers are trying to point out things that are wrong that they should take corrective action against, and all they have been doing is treating Whistleblowers that way. What does that say to any Whistleblower like Edward Snowden? That tells to him he can't go that way because obviously look what happens, right?
R.K.: Okay, kind of throw in whatever else you have got to say about Edward Snowden and what he has done because I want to move on to some other things but I would like to really thoroughly cover Edward Snowden.
W.B.: Well I think what he did was a public service to everybody in his country because he made it impossible for the Government to deny what they're doing and now they have to face it and publicly address it which they haven't really fundamentally done. You've seen in the process that some of them have been caught in lies over and over again that they're still trying to cover what they do, they haven't really corrected anything yet.
I mean they haven't really grown up to the point to understand that this whistleblowing is a problem that they've got that they need to face and correct. It's like an alcoholic, you know? If they don't realize they're an alcoholic they can't correct it. You have to face your problem to be able to solve it and they are not ready to face it yet.
R.K.: I love it. I love it, I wrote this article quoting you and in it I said that people have to just wake up and realize that their face is in the gutter and they've hit bottom and we're talking about America and democracy because of the way NSA and Obama have been operating. We're working with the same metaphor there.
W.B.: Unfortunately that's correct. It really is.
R.K.: So this is the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show WNJC 1360 AM out of Washington Township reaching Metro Philly sponsored by opednews.com. Opednews.com is the place where you're going to get light cast where you don't see it cast from the mainstream media. It's going to give you a perspective and it's going to ask question that you don't get asked elsewhere.
I'm talking with Bill Binney. Bill was a high level member of NSA, a tech guy, I spoke with him for quite a few hours yesterday before and after he gave a lecture and at dinner, and I have got to say Bill, you're a really smart guy.
W.B.: I look at myself and I just look at myself as a very practical, simple thinking, straight forward, common sense kind of person.
R.K.: Well I get a chance with this radio show to interview some of the smartest people in the world and you're right up there, you're a really sharp guy. You're a really smart guy. I was very impressed by you, for whatever that's worth. You have had an experience with dealing with money and NSA and you talked about that. You had a program that was running that was working that was constitutionally legal and in your opinion and other people's opinion more effective than the current NSA giant haystack program. So, what was it costing NSA?
W.B.: The cost to develop that program was about 3.2 million dollars from beginning to end. And we had it deployed at the end in two, three separate sites doing running twenty four hours a day inputting data all the way to the analysts.
R.K.: And that was Thin Thread, right?
W.B.: Yep. Yep. Then we proposed to do a general deployment in January of 2001 to go after eighteen sites that were productive against terrorism so we wanted to capture the world wide terrorist problem on those eighteen sites and do that and we estimated the cost to do that at 9.5 million dollars.
R.K.: So less than fifteen million dollars for the whole project?
W.B.: Yes, that's right.
R.K.: Then somebody at a higher pay grade than you came along and said what can you do with 1.2 billion dollars I think you said, right?
W.B.: Yes it came out of the NSA Transformation office that was the office that was handling, or supposed to handle the programs to do transformation to manage the digital age and also to transform our computer's network system worldwide and some other programs too. It was the move-in to the future kind of funding area that they were managing. So that became -
R.K.: So now last night you talked a little bit about describing visually what was there before this move into the future and it sounded like a rat's nest of wires under the floors and collections of routers with tons of wires going into them with nobody knowing where they went, in closets-
W.B.: yes that's right, I mean the problem was they didn't have good documentation on the networking so that made it very difficult to really know what was connected to what and who could access different systems, so if you don't have your network really well documented you don't really know who is connected to who in the network or how they can cross over from one network to another.
R.K.: It's a mess.
W.B.: Yeah. It also makes it difficult to defend against attacks.
R.K.: Yeah. And even from what you said, that was one of the reasons they were having a hard time converting to a new, better computer system because they didn't have a clue what they already had.
W.B.: That's right, that's basically right.
R.K.: Amazing. And who was in charge of this?
W.B.: The director was General Hayden.
W.B.: He had different subordinates, like the chief information officer, chief financial officer,
and you know different leaders in different technology and operations so, it was divided, it was an (inaudible) management structure.
R.K.: You're a tech guy, you understand computers and you understand technology. How about Hayden? What was he like? What is he like in terms of, I would think that in order to lead such a tech heavy, tech dependent organization you have really got to have your head around technology. What was Hayden like?
W.B.: He was a good administrative type person with a history background, I think he's a major in history. He wasn't a technician so you know, he could I guess think of a historical relationships and things like that and how people relate so I guess he was a people-oriented kind of manager but he was not a technology manager.
R.K.: So did he do email, did do basic stuff?
W.B.: I don't -
R.K.: I've heard some stories that some of these guys just were like Luddites, they totally avoided all technology.
W.B.: I think he basically depended on other people to inform him on this kind of information. In other words, he was taking advice from the established management structure.
R.K.: So okay.
W.B.: I mean that's the way I guess it went. I don't know. He never came down to talk to the technology people in my area.
R.K.: Okay, that's fair enough. So another thing that you mentioned was that corporations, a handful of corporations did most of the work that was farmed out, that was outsourced for NSA. What are the corporations?
W.B.: Well some of the main ones were SAIC, TRW, Booz Allen, my goodness there's a whole set of them over there, CFC, there's a whole set of buildings that cropped up after 9/11 and right next to NSA where they can be close and keep their contract influence going, you know? It's like a stay close to the source of all of the money and the honey, you know? They can dip into the honey bucket.
R.K.: We're talking hundreds of thousands of employees, right?
W.B.: Yes, around the world? Yes. That's right.
R.K.: Because that came out with this story about Snowden and these are not low-paid employees. Snowden was making over two hundred thousand dollars a year so hundreds of thousands employees making hundreds of thousands of dollars each. Right?
W.B.: Billing rate, they probably, whatever they bill for a person, like if they bill two hundred thousand I think generally you could divide it in two and say that's what the person gets, the other part is overhead and goes to management functions in the corporation and other kinds of like, costs like contributing into the medical, contribution of the corporations to the person and so forth.
R.K.: So you're saying of Snowden was getting a salary of two hundred thousand then Booz Allen was probably getting four hundred thousand?
W.B.: That's correct.
R.K.: Wow. I can see how they can build some pretty big high-rises out of all that money pretty quickly. That's huge.
W.B.: That's what they did. That's what they did. They're all lined up across the parkway from NSA.
R.K.: But it's worse. I mean what you said was that the decisions at NSA were often made by the corporations.
W.B.: Or extremely influenced by them, yes. That's right
R.K.: Well talk about that some more, what does that mean?
W.B.: Well when they would go, for example to get proposals from corporations, they would say, why don't you write the proposals for me? And they would do that. Or they would write solicitations for them.
NSA is supposed to write solicitations for proposals or bids on what the government wanted done but they could actually have contractors in doing that, writing for them so the contractors would right the request for proposals and then they would write the responses to the proposals so it was like they were doing both ends of the job.
W.B.: So that shows you how, well that's how the incestuous relationship operates.
R.K.: And there was a talk about how the employees at NSA would get paid. That the money tree would come to them. How would the money tree come to them if they were working as government employees?
W.B.: Well it would work pretty much like this, if they retired or quit NSA they could go to the contractors and work for the contractors at a higher salary and then come back to NSA with all the people they knew to influence them to give contracts.
R.K.: Would you say this was a very common occurrence?
W.B.: Yes, it was quite common. All you have to do is look at the people who are the higher level people and look at they retire from NSA or CIA or other agencies of the government and then look at where they go for jobs and who they contract with and you could see the influence there.
R.K.: So let me just recapitulate this. So what happens is company comes to somebody at NSA and we've got a project we would like to sell you and somebody at NSA says okay write up the request for the proposal, I'll put it in, and then you can write up the response to the proposal.
W.B.: Yeah and then tell me how much it's going to cost. And that comes from the corporation.
R.K.: And how much am I going to get out of it?
W.B.: Well you get the promise of future employment.
W.B.: And getting a higher salary when you retire from the government or if you quit early you can come over and you know, work for the corporation.
R.K.: And now what I heard was that this could be like, did they get signing bonuses as well?
W.B.: Oh yeah, oh sure.
R.K.: So they get a signing bonus that's enough o pay for a house, right?
W.B.: Well some of them do, I am sure. Some of them would get multi-million dollar contracts for a year.
R.K.: Multi-million dollar contracts for a year.
W.B.: And you have to be fairly senior and have a lot of influence to get that kind of money though.
R.K.: Yeah well they're the ones who would make these sweet deals.
R.K.: It sounds like it's an incredible corrupt and broken institution.
W.B.: Yes, in many ways that's absolutely true.
R.K.: Now, I ask you about what it costs to build Thin Thread, your program for tracking calls and I ask it because the next step was what it was replaced with. How much did they spend on the replacement?
W.B.: Well they never really replaced it but the one attempt that they made which was Trail Blazer that was a little over four billion dollars but it didn't produce anything so they started a replacement for that which was Turbulence and that one was running four to five hundred million a year in nine separate programs.
W.B.: So I still don't know that they've replaced it at all. Except that they have now purchased a [inaudible 44:28] devices to replace the front end acquisition of data but they didn't do the back end analyst part yet, so that's why they're storing everything, they're waiting to have some process come in, that's what the White House big data initiative was which is going to be perhaps a quarter billion a year they're spending on that to try to get algorithms to go through all the data that they have collected from these devices and figure out what's important for people to look at, so that's what they're doing now.
R.K.: How is that going?
W.B.: Well I don't think that's going very well for them at all because I don't think they have anybody who knows how to put that kind of program together.
R.K.: You know, what I have learned, I have worked with a programmer to custom-design the content management system for my website, opednews.com and we have been building it over I guess nine years now and in the past I have worked with other programmers on biomedical software and I have learned that one programmer can do a project for ten times the cost that another programmer can do it for, and it sounds like you were the guy who could do it for one-tenth the price or less, one-fortieth of the price
W.B.: Yeah, it's even -
R.K.: two percent of the price. I mean, it's amazing that they spent so much more and it seems to me that it's in with this reciprocity thing where people bring in projects with the anticipation that they're going to leave and get hired and get bonuses. Is there any system at NSA to prevent abuse of that?
W.B.: No because they're not audited. They're not audited by the government anywhere. The government accounting office doesn't audit them at all. So they have no threat to being viewed as to how they spend money. The only thing that could happen is the IG internally and the NSA has to do something to get involved there, otherwise the government doesn't even look at how they spend money.
R.K.: That's insane. And it's, how much is the NSA budget?
W.B.: Overall I think it's a little over ten billion dollars a year but they also have influence over six maybe billion that are assigned to the service, the SIGINT services, the Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, SIGINT services. That's the CSS part of NSA CSS. So sum total is probably sixteen to eighteen billion total.
R.K.: Wow. And that's what they admit to, right?
W.B.: As far as I know, yes. Or that's what has to a certain degree been exposed by Snowden. I mean he gave the NSA budget that a little over ten billion but he didn't have all of the figures there, it was a little bit larger so I'm not sure what he's missing there.
R.K.: That's amazing.
W.B.: There's some sort of subset of information was there; not the whole structure.
R.K.: Are there criminals operating at NSA?
W.B.: I certainly think some of them should be referred to the DOJ for criminal investigation but I have no confidence that anybody in the DOJ would in any way investigate them now.
R.K.: So what kind of -
W.B.: Even if they had clear evidence that they were swindling money out of the government or corrupting or doing fraud knowingly committing fraud. I don't think they'd do anything about it.
R.K.: So what kind of people should be investigated by the DOJ, if you could get them to investigate them, what would they be guilty of or accused of or investigated for?
W.B.: Well defrauding the government of money, yeah. I mean that's pretty clear. I mean all they'd have to do is look at all the financial tracks, but they'd have to do an audit. That's why they feel free, when they're not audited, that's where corruption comes in and it comes in in abundance clearly and they don't really think anybody is going to do anything about it anyway so -
R.K.: Are there others?
W.B.: And so far, by the way, I would point out they're right.
R.K.: Are there other areas in government that are not audited?
W.B.: Yes. Well basically the intelligence community is not audited.
R.K.: Wow. And how much is the total budget of the intelligence committee?
W.B.: Somewhere in the order to eighty to a hundred billion a year.
W.B.: You know since 9/11 it's been over a half a trillion dollars we've invested totally, the government, the country has invested in the intelligence community.
R.K.: Wow. That's insane. And what do we have to show for it?
W.B.: Well what we have to show is that they're certainly not doing very well at stopping terrorist attacks and well you know I assume that the law enforcement is having a good time with the data that they're collecting and the courts and everybody else, the Intelligence Committees and all that are having a good time protecting and covering up on everything, as well as the DOJ and the FBI are still covering up what they're doing.
R.K.: Now you mentioned law enforcement before and you said that the real beneficiaries of NSA's domestic collection of information are law enforcement people. Now are they breaking, are they violating the constitution when they're taking that information?
W.B.: Yes they are. Yeah. Because what they're doing is they're using it to arrest people, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency for example are using it to arrest people and when they do that you know it's like, one of the Reuters articles that exposed some of it said they passed that down to state and local police to do the arrest and when they do it they don't tell them the source of the data and one of the arresting officers testified or gave a statement to Reuters that said all we're told is to go to this parking lot, wait for this truck to pull in, and when it pulls in to that spot we go arrest the person, bring in the drug dogs and have them sniff the place out and find the drugs and then you know we use that to incarcerate them but then they have to do a parallel construction which is in their terms, they have to go out and find information that they would normally get through a normal police operation and then substitute that information for the original data that was used from NSA to do the original arrest and then use that data in the courts.
R.K.: Now let me just -
W.B.: Well never tell a court, lawyers defending or prosecuting, that the original data came from NSA and so what that does is that means that the defendant doesn't get the real right to discovery and challenging discovery and that's a violation of the constitutional rights and also what it is is fundamentally perjury to the court. So I called that, my label for that is a planned programmed perjury policy operated by the Department of Justice of the United States.
R.K.: Wow. So let me just recap this. So they use the data, the meta-data and the actual data that they collected from Americans in the United States, violating the constitution, right so far?
W.B.: Rob, I would point out that in order to go out to this parking space or this parking lot, wait for a given truck to pull in and then do the arrest, you have to have more than meta-data, you have got to have content. You're actually collecting all of the content and are still lying about that, too. They are not facing the fact that, talk about only doing meta-data but they're getting content too.
R.K.: Okay so they're looking at content, they're listening to the phone calls, they're checking the emails, they're looking at the easy passes, the bridge pass, electronic bridge passes and what have you, and they're pulling all that together and then they tell the police what to do and this parallel construction, what you're talking about is a cover, really, right?
W.B.: That's right.
R.K.: This is where they throw together something that they claim is the way they knew about it whereas the real way they knew about it was using this un-constitutionally collected data. Is that what happens?
W.B.: Yes because they can't introduce that into the court because it was acquired without a warrant, so if you brought that in it would be thrown out.
R.K.: What would happen if a lawyer asked routinely in every case, was NSA information used?
W.B.: Well, here's the real rub on that one, the Solicitor General of the United States testified to the Supreme Court in the case, Amnesty International vs Clapper, that should that be the case that NSA data was used against anyone, that they would be told in advance that that was going to happen and that was a lie to the Supreme Court to get that case dismissed, because in that case it was proven later that all of the data they have been using had never been notified to any defendants.
R.K.: Wait a second, are you saying that Clapper lied? Oh my goodness!
W.B.: No it wasn't Clapper, it was in the testimony to the Supreme Court, the Solicitor General argued that if any NSA data was being used in any case against any individual that that individual would be told the source of that data was NSA. So they would -
W.B.: They would then have the ability to do discovery and contesting the discovery which is their constitutional right when in fact that was false. So that's perjury to the Supreme Court to get the case Amnesty International dismissed. Versus Clapper. Amnesty International vs Clapper. That case, that's the way they argued to get that case dismissed.
R.K.: Okay. And so who was the person who perjured?
W.B.: Well it was the Solicitor General of the United States and I don't remember his name but he has been, as far as I know, he has been going around saying okay now that I have said that in the Supreme Court we have to retroactively go back and do that in all the cases where we have used this data and they have yet to do that.
R.K.: This is a pretty serious charge he has made. Is anybody else talking about this?
W.B.: Yes, there are a number of people that has been in different newspapers, news articles, and various blogs and so on. I mean, there are a number of people talking about this, yes.
R.K.: Okay. Who would prosecute the Solicitor General, I mean-
W.B.: I know. That's the problem
R.K.: Who does the Solicitor General work for?
W.B.: Well he works for the Attorney General, right? But the point is, he needs to be, he needs to either prosecute the people who told him that, who lied to him as giving him that information to go into the court or he needs to be removed and we need a special prosecutor to go after everybody on this.
R.K.: It sounds to me like that's what we need. A special prosecutor, independent of the Department of Justice, independent of the White House,
W.B.: Run out of congress, for example. Congress can do that.
R.K.: That's, I wonder who makes that happen.
W.B.: I think a good one would be Bruce Fine , for example.
R.K.: He is a good guy. Yeah.
W.B.: He would be a good one to do this.
R.K.: Independent investigator. I like that. So tell me, we've really covered a lot of ground here it's been very interesting. It's terrifying just how bad it is, how broken the system is, how corrupt the Department of Justice and the Intelligence Agencies are.
W.B.: Well I mean I could only use examples where people who know totalitarian states have made comments about this. One was Chancellor Merkel who has direct knowledge of the Stasi and how they operated in East Germany and also a Lieutenant Colonel, Wolfgang Schmidt who used to be a Lieutenant Colonel in the Stasi in East Germany who said about the program at NSA that this, to us this would have been a dream come true.
That's telling you that this process is the totalitarian process that they were attempting to achieve in East Germany and even the Soviet Union and it's nothing new, I mean it's historically down through the centuries what totalitarian states wanted to do.
They wanted to know everything about anybody, it's like the British Military in the colonies back when they had the writ of search warrant, they could just go around and search anybody, go bust into anybody's home, take anything they wanted and no one had any right to anything, so I mean they had no right to protest. This has been totalitarianism down through the centuries.
R.K.: So, I need to just do a station ID, this is the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show WNJC 1360 AM out of Washington Township reaching Metro Philly sponsored by opednews.com. Oped News is a progressive alternative news source where you're going to see light cast where the mainstream media just don't go. You only need to remember, just do a Google search for liberal news or progressive news opinion, but we're left of liberal frankly.
The article I just did today was a brutal critique of Obama and how he has turned government bad. It's just not the same world anymore. I have been speaking with Bill Binney, a former high level person at NSA, a tech guy who really knows his tech. I want to talk to you a little more about tech.
One more thing, in terms of the show, if you came in late and you want to catch the beginning of it or you have got to leave, you can go to opednews.com/podcasts and you can download it there, or you can go to iTunes and look for my name, Rob Kall, K A L L and you'll be able to access this show and hundreds of others there.
So Bill I want to talk to you about tech. You're a tech guy. You really impressed me on what you know about it. A couple of things. A couple of times during our conversation you refer to NSA as being like the Borg Collective. Talk about that.
W.B.: Well I mean, what they do is they have a process of raising and going through management levels and rising up in a corporation, when you get passed the branch level and start to get into the division level that's when you start to begin to get the training about the collective and how you have to sustain and maintain the collective responsibility and defending one another's turf, so to speak.
So in other words, you get turf, you get respect for each other's turf and nobody violates anybody's turf and everybody supports everybody so if somebody in the corporation says that we really need this amount of money everybody supports that so we can get the money, so they get that mental corporation "über alles" kind of mentality, we've even had directives out of the director's office saying once the corporation makes a decision, I expect everybody to get behind that decision and try to do their best to make that decision work.
R.K.: Now you used the word, high-mind as well. Now can you describe where the Borg Collective actually comes from? In science fiction.
W.B.: Well it comes from Star Trek, the Borg collective with their cube-type spaceships, they go around, it's actually they all share one hive mind, or I refer to it as one brain cell, so you know, what it really does is say they don't actually stimulate or encourage unique thinking. In other words, it's the collective thinking which is basically why I refer to it at the Borg Collective because this corporate thinking is not encouraging and stimulating creative and innovative approaches or thought and experiment to try and advance the technology.
R.K.: Now, I call my radio show the Bottom Up Radio Show because I believe we are transitioning from a top-down to a bottom-up world. What you have described sounds like the ultimate top-down system.
W.B.: Yeah that's right, that's basically what it was.
R.K.: It's rigid, it's fragile, it's very vulnerable.
W.B.: It makes everybody afraid to try to do anything. You know you have to have direct approval from the top down.
R.K.: Wow. Alright. So I wanted to cover the Borg Collective and the hive-mind and now I want to go on, it's kind of the last thing, is technology. You were talking about last night about how different operating systems and browsers, how NSA has their hooks into them and there has been some talk about how Microsoft is one of the worst. Tell us a little bit about how NSA works with operating systems and browsers?
W.B.: Well I think part of what they're trying to do is get to all the different corporations and the product that they produce and try to have them create weaknesses or put in types of information software or hardware and software into their products so they can be spread around the world and that gives them windows or weaknesses where they can break into things anywhere around the world, at least that's what 's being published so far.
And for example they said in a newspaper in the Netherlands they published that about a couple of months ago they published an article that showed that they had something on the order of greater than fifty thousand implants in the world, which means that they have these, this capability deployed around the world; it's switches where any switch can be instructed to dual route everything it gets back to NSA for example or anywhere else in the world.
So that means that they could have up to fifty thousand switches or servers around the world, giving and feeding them information.
R.K.: What about these back doors in operating systems?
W.B.: Well that's like a window into anybody who has that operating system. That gives them an avenue to go into their server or their computer and extract information.
R.K.: So they could literally go into hundreds of millions of different computers if they wanted to.
W.B.: That's very likely yeah.
R.K.: And is it also possible that having this kind of access, NSA could literally go on the offensive and create denial of service attacks using millions of computers? They could be the virus, they could be the malware, it could be NSA actually being the controller of an army of millions of computers.
W.B.: I would pretty much say that with all those implants and taps and everything they have across the entire network that basically means that they own a considerable part of the network and can manipulate or do anything with it that they pretty much want to do.
R.K.: Now, you mention that the US originally designed and built the internet and eighty percent of it is in the US.
W.B.: Roughly eighty percent. Yeah.
R.K.: What does that mean for the way that NSA can get around it?
W.B.: Well that means they have direct access to the fiber lines in the United States so therefore they have direct access to eighty percent of the entire network of the world.
R.K.: And what could they do with that?
W.B.: Well they can collect it, they can take in the data or they can passively do that or they could potentially get active and go through different systems around the world or you know going through the firewalls or other kinds of operating systems that are existing or based on the weaknesses they have created or the weaknesses they jointly created with the industry so that allows them access to the entire network. A good portion of it, anyway.
R.K.: Anything that we haven't covered yet? We have got to wrap this up. Anything that we haven't covered that's really important that you would like the listeners to know about?
W.B.: Just that my major concern isn't with NSA having access to this data or having this data, it's the use of it and once they get it and store it, being used by law enforcement and our law enforcement is spreading that around the world to other law enforcement and so it's corrupting not just our democracy, we're becoming a police state because of this but it's also corrupting the countries around the world so it's really endangering the democratic process and the court systems that we have established. That is really destroying our society. We may not know it yet but eventually it'll get to all of us.
R.K.: Bad news. So you told me that you're going to spend the rest of your life on this.
W.B.: Yes. Until my government basically starts to do the right thing, and that means become a constitutionally based operating government.
R.K.: dDo you see any ideological or party differences in the way this is being handled?
W.B.: Actually no. I think they're all basically the same. They've been, I mean for example you know Bush would prefer to have acquired the terrorists, captured them, put them in to torture them to get information; whereas Obama would kill them with a drone. So it's the same principle, I mean they're just doing whatever they want, there are no limits to what they want to do. Especially the latest NDAA that talks about giving the president the power to declare anybody, any US Citizen even in this country a terrorist and have the military pick them up, take them off the street, incarcerate them indefinitely, and give them no due process.
That to me is executing something very similar to what the Nazis did in 1933, Special Order 48, that did exactly the same thing. And that's how they got rid of all of their opposition. All the communists and anybody else that opposed them. But I mean they sent them to the concentration camps. So far we have not been sending them to the concentration camps but they'll do things like send the FBI after you or maybe attempt to put you in jail like they tried to do with a number of us.
So they're not as radical yet but the problem is that when you give people that kind of power or they hold that kind of power, sooner or later, they're going to use it. One way or another.
R.K.: You know it seems to me that the same applies to technology. If the technology is available or if it can be developed they're going to develop it and they're going to use it.
W.B.: That's right.
R.K.: They're ought to be some controls on that. Got to wrap it up, this has been a great interview, thank you so much and keep up the great work.
W.B.: Well thank you, I certainly will if I can.
R.K.: You are an American Hero in my mind.
W.B.: Thank you.
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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To learn more about Rob and OpEdNews.com, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V.. and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table
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