On Thursday, ABC News reported a big new break in the story of illegal and unconstitutional spying that our government has engaged in for years now, except that there was nothing new in the story and the important parts were left out.
The ABC News announcer began the video report thus:
"This is the first time any of the actual intercept operators, the people who listen in and record phone calls on behalf of U.S. intelligence agencies, the first time any of them has come forward."
But this would have been revealed as blatant nonsense by simply googling the names of the two operators, Adrienne Kinne and David Murfee Faulk. I reported Kinne's story on July 1, 2007, on a website that is read by hundreds of thousands of people every month, including quite a few Congressional staffers. The very popular radio show, Democracy Now!, reported on one aspect of Kinne's story on May 13, 2008.
I first reported Faulk's story on May 19, 2008. He contacted me because he had read the story I'd written about Kinne. That point is of interest because the report posted online by ABC News on October 9, 2008, reads:
"The accounts of the two former intercept operators, who have never met and did not know of the other's allegations, provide the first inside look at the day to day operations of the huge and controversial US terrorist surveillance program."
This is absolute nonsense, since Faulk learned of Kinne's story by reading it on my website in May.
Not only has ABC News announced as an "Exclusive!" a story that is over a year old, but dozens of major corporate media outlets have now parroted ABC News on this, cited ABC News as their source, and failed to so much as google the names of the people involved or to admit what they found when they did so.
Now, ABC News credits as its source the author James Bamford, whose new book I have not yet seen. Bamford tells me he left the phone-sex angle out of it. He probably included in it some of the more important information that ABC News excluded in favor of phone-sex titillation. But Bamford must also have contributed to the pretense that there was something new here that had not been reported before.
When I reported on Kinne over a year ago, I reported that Senator Patrick Leahy was ignoring her requests. Now, in response to ABC News picking up the story, Leahy is pretending to be interested in the matter.
Kinne, like Leahy, lives in Vermont. She had, even before I spoke with her, traveled all over Vermont giving speeches, though not focused on the revelations I reported. She was taking part in a tour promoting the impeachment of the president. Kinne is an active member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. I learned of her story when I heard her speak at a public event as part of the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta, Ga., after which I interviewed her. None of that background would ever be suitable information for the Disney Corporation (ABC News), but I think it played a big role in Kinne's decision to become a whistleblower, in her awareness that she had something to blow a whistle on, in her confidence to speak out. And her speaking out was a major factor in Faulk's decision to speak out. When Kinne spoke to me, she was not yet at the point where she would have been willing to go on ABC News if asked. But they didn't ask, and neither did any other corporate media outlet, and when ABC finally reported this story, it buried and distorted any account of how these two people had found the courage to speak up, thus reducing the benefit of the story for encouraging other whistleblowers.
But even a year and a half ago, Kinne was eager to speak to Congress, and Congress wanted nothing to do with her. Leahy and gang only became interested in putting on a show of being interested when ABC News reported the story. I'm glad they did. And I'm glad that Bamford persuaded them to. But they left most of the story out. It's a story of war lies and war crimes. It's not primarily a story about privacy, much less sex. Here are my original reports:
New NSA Whistleblower Speaks
July 1, 2007
By David Swanson
A former member of U.S. military intelligence has decided to reveal what she knows about warrantless spying on Americans and about the fixing of intelligence in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.
Adrienne Kinne describes an incident just prior to the invasion of Iraq in which a fax came into her office at Fort Gordon in Georgia that purported to provide information on the location of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The fax came from the Iraqi National Congress, a group opposed to Saddam Hussein and favoring an invasion. The fax contained types of information that required that it be translated and transmitted to President Bush within 15 minutes. But Kinne had been eavesdropping on two nongovernmental aid workers driving in Iraq who were panicked and trying to find safety before the bombs dropped. She focused on trying to protect them, and was reprimanded for the delay in translating the fax. She then challenged her officer in charge, Warrant Officer John Berry, on the credibility of the fax, and he told her that it was not her place or his to challenge such things. None of the other 20 or so people in the unit questioned anything, Kinne said.
Kinne dates this incident to the period just before the official invasion of Iraq or possibly just after. She says that because the US engaged in so much bombing prior to the official invasion, she cannot recall for sure.