Monday, July 1, 2013

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: Simple Way to Detect Terrorists Without Invading Our Privacy

Democracy Now!'s interview of NSA whistleblower William Binney is worth watching. Among the interesting things he has to say is that there is an easy way to screen for terrorists without invading our privacy:

 "Personally, I’ve had the view for any—for quite a number of decades, that the Congress and the administration have been—have been fed by the intelligence community what I call technobabble. In other words, they’re being bamboozled into thinking a certain way, that they have to do this in order to get terrorists. And that’s simply false. There’s a simple way to do it that would protect people’s privacy and not invade anybody’s telephone records or email. And that’s to say, if you have a terrorist, and he calls somebody in the United States—I call this the two-degree principle—that’s one degree of communication separation. Then you look at that as a target, and you collect that, and then you look also at the person in the United States and who they talk to. That could represent the—that’s a zone of suspicion that would, in effect, be basically a support network for that person inside the country. That defines your terrorist relationship, and that’s how you look at that. And the rest of the communication of the U.S. people don’t mean anything, as relevant, and none of that’s relevant to what’s going on there. And you also have to look at the jihadi-type sites, those that advocate jihad or violence and so on, and you see who is accessing those sites. That’s easy to monitor that, and it doesn’t invade anybody’s privacy that’s been absolutely doing nothing of—that should be in any way considered suspicious."


JDB said...

This is an important point, because most public defenders of Snowden and the publication of his leaks have emphasized the lack of evidence presented that these programs keep us safer. They are rhetorically banking on there not being any forthcoming evidence; but obviously even if there was, the follow-up question is whether the same goal could be achieved with less. And, if it can be achieved with less, then that strongly suggests that keeping people safe is not the only goal of the programs.

Bilbo said...

Yes. I don't know if you've watched the entire interview, but Binney points out that government domestic spying on Americans by the NSA actually began in February 2001, months before 9/11. In his opinion this made it clear that the goal was to be able to "leverage" any American citizen.

Of course, as a 9/11 Truther, it's clear to me why they would want to be in a position to leverage American citizens before 9/11 happened.

Bilbo said...

Well, let me ratchet that down a little: As a 9/11 Truther, I can think of a very specific reason for the government wanting to be in a position to be able to leverage American citizens before 9/11 happened.