We Warned the American People about Naked Surveillance, but No One Listened

By Kirk Wiebe,  a 32-year NSA veteran and senior analyst, who received the Director CIA’s Meritorious Unit Award and the NSA’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

Kirk Wiebe

I’m from a small town in Indiana, where we often passed on knowledge with this simple bit of farmland wisdom:  “If you plant onions, you’ll pretty much get onions.”  Another way of stating it, perhaps more eloquently, is “You reap what you sow.”

Still another fitting bit of wisdom in the context of what we are witnessing today would be found in “Live by the sword, die by the sword.”

Over a decade and a half ago, the NSA Four (Bill Binney, Ed Loomis, Tom Drake, and myself), together with House Intelligence Committee Senior Staffer Diane Roark pleaded for a surveillance system that protected the innocent, in order to prevent the destruction of individual privacy guaranteed us all by the U.S. Constitution.

Nobody listened.  No one cared.  No one took corrective action.

Today, we see unfolding before our very eyes a Constitutional crisis of monumental proportions, one that threatens the very foundations of our nation’s system of governance.

People hidden in the bowels of the United States Intelligence Community are leaking classified information taken from the private phone calls of innocent people – people who have not been accused of committing any crime – to the press for purely political reasons, reasons that include an attempt to take down our duly elected administration.

Had the approach we advocated over 16 years ago been used – one that featured a built-in capability that prevented the kind of access to, and disclosure of, private information we are seeing in the news – we would not be witnessing the abject abuse of authority that is unfolding before us.  President Obama’s order just before departing the White House that spread access to NSA’s intercepts to hundreds of additional people across all 17 agencies of the Intelligence Community would not have mattered. Innocent people’s private information would have been protected.

The questions remain – is anyone listening? Does anyone care? Indeed, Albert Einstein once said, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

Is anyone taking corrective action to prevent such leaks, even in the absence of identifying the individuals who are continuing to break the law?

It might take a week, maybe two, maybe even three, depending on the IT architecture involved, to put the data protections in place.

For the American People.  For the nation.

Originally published at RayMcGovern.com. Republished with permission.

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  • Mencken’s Ghost

    Hey, Senator Frank Church, Dem. of Idaho, warned Americans in 1975, back when the NSA was referred to as “N.o S.uch A.gency when it was referred to at all, that, http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/04/influential-senator-warned-in-1975-the-national-security-agencys-capability-at-any-time-could-be-turned-around-on-the-american-people-and-no-american-would-have-any-privacy-left.html. Paul Craig Roberts is right to repeatedly refer to we Americans as “The insouciant people.”

  • jadan

    Did anyone listen when Einstein warned against developing the atomic bomb? The surveillance state has to be eliminated like nuclear weapons. There’s no way to civilize these technologies. You can’t collect data as the spooks do and then pass a law to protect privacy rights. You do not collect such data in the first place, pal. Stop fooling yourself. Stop whining about how innocent you are.

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    • A_V

      Pandora’s box is wide open…it’s too late.

  • Charlie Primero

    U.S. Citizens DESERVE to be treated like natural resource farm animals by Globalist Bankers because they behave like farm animals.

    This shredding of the Constitution was exposed 10 years ago. Americans chose to accept it. End of story.

  • ArtBell

    Given a choice between liberty or using a cell phone 95% of the world will chose a cell phone. This is the most brainless self centered generation the world has ever seen.

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  • Paul Velte

    Oh dear Lord, I truly worry what kind of nation my generation is leaving to my children…