Due to other obligations I was unable to attend Defcon this year, which was made more disappointing when one of the speakers ended up being a former National Security Agency (NSA) official named William Binney. He explained something that I already suspected, that the NSA was already geared up to spy on American citizens but were waiting for a tragedy they could exploit:
He said the NSA began building its data collection system to spy on Americans prior to 9/11, and then used the terrorist attacks that occurred that year as the excuse to launch the data collection project.
“It started in February 2001 when they started asking telecoms for data,” Binney said. “That to me tells me that the real plan was to spy on Americans from the beginning.”
Binney is referring to assertions that former Qwest CEO James Nacchio made in court documents in 2007 that the NSA had asked Qwest, AT&T, Verizon and Bellsouth in early 2001 for customer calling records and that all of the other companies complied with the request, but Nacchio declined to participate until served with a proper legal order.
“The reason I left the NSA was because they started spying on everybody in the country. That’s the reason I left,” said Binney, who resigned from the agency in late 2001.
To say I’m not surprised would be an understatement. The state has numerous mechanisms designed to further enhance its power over the people living within its claimed borders that are merely awaiting an exploitable tragedy. Without a tragedy to justify the implementation of new tyrannies it’s difficult to get the people to quietly roll over and accept their new chains. 9/11 gave the state enough justification to push the PATRIOT Act through, which was written before 9/11:
Paul railed on the PATRIOT Act, a pet issue that he frequently brings up on the trail.
“The PATRIOT Act was written many, many years before 9/11,” Paul said. The attacks simply provided “an opportunity for some people to do what they wanted to do,” he said.
Passing the PATRIOT Act into law removed the facade of legal restrictions that hindered the state’s ability to spy on the citizenry. In addition to the PATRIOT Act, 9/11 gave the state an excuse to pass the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which established the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Homeland Security Act, which established the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Of course exploiting tragedies is nothing new, the Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed by exploiting the assassination of John F. Kennedy and there was a plan to fabricate a tragedy through a false-flag operation titled Operation Northwoods [PDF] in order to justify a war with Cuba (thankfully it was rejected by Kennedy).
Tragedies befall us everyday and those looking to increase their power need only await for one to arise. Look how quickly Schumer attempted to exploit the Aurora, Colorado shooting to justify a ban on standard capacity magazines. Needless to say I’m not surprised to hear that the NSA had the software to spy on American citizens developed before those planes struck the World Trade Center buildings. In fact I would have been shocked if that software hadn’t already been developed.
With all of this said it’s nice to see the One Ring didn’t corrupt Binney and he ran away from it once he realized its malicious nature. Unfortunately we don’t have enough Binneys, and thus enough people exist to staff the NSA and ensure its ability to continue spying on American citizens.