Segments in this Video

NSA whistleblower William Binney explains project Trailblazer (04:47)


NSA whistleblower William Binney tells Nick Gillespie about his concerns about Trailblazer, an ineffective project that was supposed to move the NSA into the digital age. At a cost of $4 billion, it collected vast amounts of data but couldn't sort data to create meaningful results.

Could the NSA have stopped 9/11? (03:22)

NSA whistleblower William Binney says he became frustrated with the NSA when it became apparent that the agency was more concerned with money than with its intelligence mission. Despite the challenges of the digital age, Binney believes the United States could have stopped 9/11 if the agency had been properly focused.

Walk us through the Analytics (02:58)

Former NSA analyst William Binney provides an overview of how intelligence agencies track telephone and internet communications, and explains why metadata is more important than content.

New York Times expose and FBI investigation (03:41)

In 2005, William Binney was involved in a New York Times expose of the NSA's warrantless wiretapping practices, which triggered an FBI investigation on whether he leaked state secrets. Binney explains that due to Stellar Wind, the NSA project that essentially put all Americans under surveillance, the intelligence community already knew he hadn't leaked any information.

Patriotism, fear-mongering, and totalitarian governments (02:21)

William Binney says that the NSA activities he is speaking out against are equivalent to those carried out under totalitarian governments. The DEA is arresting people based on intelligence that was not gathered under a warrant.

Constitutionality, effectiveness and corruption (02:17)

Nick Gillespie challenges Binney on the use of non-warranted intelligence to arrest non-terrorist lawbreakers, but Binney says these arrests are unconstitutional. He also says the mass collection of data is not stopping terrorism, but it is building the NSA's power.

Whistleblowing and official channels (03:20)

As whistleblowers, Binney and his cohorts tried to use official channels to elicit change. But the government chose instead to hide or gloss over its wrongdoing. After what happened to Binney and others, Edward Snowden chose to take his whistleblowing public.

Edward Snowden and the point of intelligence gathering (02:46)

William Binney explains his differences with Edward Snowden, particularly around software backdoors and foreign surveillance. Binney is a whistleblower not because he is against surveillance, but because it must be done legally.

Intelligence, incompetence and accountability (04:23)

Nick Gillespie asks if large mistakes by the FBI and NSA are signs of incompetence. Binney explains that his program, ThinThread, would have improved efficiency and accountability--but no one in the NSA wanted to be held accountable.

NSA Hierarchy and Justifying Mass Data Collection (02:25)

William Binney criticized Keith Alexander for putting out false explanations for missing the communications of 9/11 suspects. These explanations rationalize mass data collection.

Patriot Act and Secret Interpretations (02:36)

William Binney explains how it would be possible for the NSA to gather data on terrorists within the United States without violating privacy rights. He criticizes Keith Alexander for saying the intelligence agencies could not communicate prior to 9/11, for using unintended interpretations of the law, and for justifying bulk data collection.

Reining in the NSA (04:38)

Gillespie asks how the NSA can be reformed to end civil liberty violations. Binney says Congress and the courts need to have technical workers to get into NSA's systems and see what is really going on.

Is Congress capable of fixing the intelligence system? (01:42)

Binney criticizes Congress as a whole for its inability and unwillingness to control the NSA, but he names several senators who are trying to deal with its problems.

Presidential Accountability (02:24)

Binney describes different intelligence programs that have been illegally spying on American citizens since World War II. He condemns President Gerald Ford for pardoning Nixon and setting the precedent of presidency without accountability.

Presidents and executive power (02:38)

Binney explains the differences in how President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama handle the intelligence community and its practices.

Informing the public and cleaning up abuses (03:45)

Binney says the government and intelligence agencies need to be cleared of their entrenched citizens. Despite the mess of the intelligence community, he would still recommend that young people enter it--to bring integrity back into the system.

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NSA Whistleblower William Binney Tells All

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William Binney worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) for 30 years before quitting in 2001 from his high-placed post as technical leader for intelligence. In 2002, long before the revelations of Edward Snowden rocked the world, Binney and several former colleagues went to Congress and the Department of Defense, asking that the NSA be investigated. Their concerns fell on deaf ears. He tells his story in this 50-minute interview. A Reason TV production.

Length: 51 minutes

Item#: BVL81711

ISBN: 978-1-60057-764-2

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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