NSA Insiders Reveal What Went Wrong

Published on truthout, by Former NSA Senior Executives and Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, Consortium News, an Open Letter, Jan 7, 2014.

In a memo to President Obama, former National Security Agency insiders explain how NSA leaders botched intelligence collection and analysis before 9/11, covered up the mistakes, and violated the constitutional rights of the American people, all while wasting billions of dollars and misleading the public: … (the memo) … //

… Introduction:  

  • We write you with a sense of urgency looking toward your upcoming decisions regarding the activities of the National Security Agency. We the undersigned (William Binney, Thomas Drake, Edward Loomis, and Kirk Wiebe) worked with NSA for a total of 144 years, most of them at senior levels. Our mission required the highest technical skills to keep the country safe from foreign enemies, while protecting the privacy rights of U.S. citizens under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • For us, the 21st Century arrived with serious management and technical shortcomings at NSA in meeting the huge challenges posed by the digital and Internet age and the huge problems accompanying the transition from a Cold War footing over 40 years to an increasingly complex world with many asymmetric threats.
  • NSA management’s reaction in this environment not only opened the door to the attacks of 9/11 but led to violation of what had been the “First Commandment” at NSA; namely, “Thou Shalt Not Eavesdrop on Americans Without a Court Warrant.” Under the circumstances, three of us (Binney, Loomis, and Wiebe) left; Drake had just come on board in hopes of playing a constructive role in addressing the challenges at NSA.
  • We all share an acute sense of regret for NSA’s demonstrable culpability for what happened on 9/11, and – for those of us working there before the terrorist attacks – a remorse for not having been able to stop them. We tried; but it is hard to escape a nagging regret that, somehow, we should have tried harder.
  • We were there; we know what happened. And we know how what happened has been successfully covered up – until now. Calamities like this tend to happen again if there is no accountability for what happened before. You need the unvarnished truth. The flood of revelations now in the public domain frees us to address facts and events formerly hidden behind a convenient, cover-up classification regime. We feel bound by the solemn oath we took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, to make truths known to you that you may find as unconscionable as we do.
  • Why do we still care? Because we have consciences; because the oath we took has no expiration date; because we know – as few others do – how critically important it is for our country to have a well functioning, Constitution-abiding National Security Agency; and because we know how that ship can be steered back on course at that important place of work by improving its ability to find terrorists and other criminals in massive amounts of data, while protecting the right to privacy and citizen sovereignty.

Getting in the Door: … //

// …. // …. (many chapters) … ////

… Bottom Line:

  • It should now be clear, for those who can handle the truth, that the problems at NSA run deep – in terms of effectiveness, integrity and respect for the Constitution. By withholding information and exploiting secrecy, NSA’s leaders past and present have pulled off an unparalleled coup in concealing the sad reality that NSA could have prevented 9/11 and didn’t. And Schadenfreude chortling by leaders at the top regarding the demonstrated bureaucratic advantages and success of such dishonesty has a tendency to be heard down through the ranks, corrupting even dedicated workers.
  • As you ponder more recent abuses, we hope you will address the deficiencies of NSA management past and present – those who have been in charge of tens of thousands of patriotic workers doing their best in an agency whose mission is critical to our national security. And we suggest that you might wish to avoid repeating the dodgy rhetoric aimed at “proving” to us all that tragedies like 9/11 cannot be prevented unless we collect every bit and byte of signals intelligence we can.
  • We are in a position to know that collecting everything makes very little sense from a technical point of view. And, as citizens, we are offended by the callous disregard of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution we all swore a solemn oath to support and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Signed, … (many names) … //

(full long text).


same article: NSA Insiders Reveal What Went Wrong, on Here Comes Trouble, by Ray McGovern, Jan 8, 2014;

Raymond (Ray) McGovern on Here Comes Trouble, on World People’s Blog, and on en.wikipedia with it’s External Links;

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity VIPS on en.wikipedia is a group of current and former officials of the United States Intelligence Community, including some from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the U.S. State Department’s Intelligence Bureau/(Bureau of Intelligence and Research) (INR), and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). It was formed in January 2003 as a “coast-to-coast enterprise” to protest the use of faulty intelligence “upon which the US/UK invasion of Iraq was based.”[1][2][3] The group issued a letter before the 2003 invasion of Iraq stating that intelligence analysts were not being listened to by policy makers. In August 2010 it issued a memorandum to the White House warning of an imminent Israeli attack on Iran …;

Infrastructure 101: The Evolution of Building Big Things (Part 1), on truthout, by Ellen Dannin, Jan 8, 2014;

The NSA Is Hacking Our Hardware Too, on truthout, by Kristina Chew, Jan 8, 2014.

Comments are closed.