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tv   James Bamford on NSA Spying and Edward Snowden  CSPAN  February 8, 2014 3:00pm-3:50pm EST

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good suggestions, just a panel that looked it some of the issues for a month for couple months or whatever it was and that is it and they are gone. ..
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>> basically just discredit him inf his followers. and that's what this document was. i mean, it basically said the same thing. it was dated just back in october of 2012, and what it argued was that -- and the director of the nsa, general alexander, his title is at the very top of it. and it said they were looking for personal vulnerabilities,
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viewing sexually-explicit material online and so forth. a lot can be learned by people visiting porn sites. besides, it's probably more fun to listen to the north koreans. [laughter] so then the idea here is to exploit. i was amazed at the listening they used, you know, like nobody would ever see this document, so let's use explicit language as possible. so they would exploit these radicallizers. and, again, they said we're not talking about terrorists here, we're not talking about criminals, these are people who are radical. and it actually identified the people. i saw the original document when i was down there, i actually saw the names. but, you know, i agreed with him that you shouldn't publicize it. but when i saw the names, there wasn't any division between -- because at least one of the names i saw was a u.s. citizen or u.s. person is what they call it, and others were foreigners.
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so there wasn't any division. we're only going after the foreigners. it's americans or u.s. persons and foreigners. and then, you know, when's interesting to -- what's interesting to me among the distribution lists was the justice department and commerce. i mean, what -- is this because they're trying to regulate the porn industry or something? i didn't get what the commerce department would be getting a top secret document from nsa about eavesdropping on people's visits to porn sites. there's a lot i don't understand about nsa. so going back, this is what happened back in the bad old days, the 1960s. the fbi used wiretapping to discover vulnerabilities such as sexual activityies against radicallizers such as martin luther king.
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j. edgar hoover, the longest serving fbi director, now comes from general alexander, the longest serving nsa director. it says something about not letting people stay in a job too long. and nsa played a role back in those days too evidence dropping on antiwar protesters and so forth. so nsa would pick up some of the information and pass it on to the fbi. so in terms of reforms now, you know, those are -- i couldn't see anything that i really disagreed with on those 46 recommendations that came from the white house panel, you know, hearing all these rumors that the president's not going to -- he's going to do sort of cosmetic changes tomorrow and not anything really substantive which would be very disappointing. but actually it goes along with his track record. i mean, he's the guy that
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tripled the number of people, tripled the number of forces in iraq instead of ending it in the first six months. i'm sorry, in afghanistan. tripled the number of forces in afghanistan when he first got into office instead of ending it in the first six months. george bush had one drone attack in yemen in eight years, and obama has declared war on yemen. i mean, there is drone attacks going on all the time. and the first attack on yemen wasn't even a drone attack. it was, i think, december 17th, 2009. that was when he launched his first attack on yemen. which was very telling. there weren't enough drones in the area, they were all in afghanistan and pakistan. but there was a navy ship. it was maybe a missile cruiser or a submarine, one of the two.
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he used that. and they thought there were some terrorists down in the really rural part of southern yemen. so they fired all these cruise missiles at this group in this tiny little village. cruise missiles happened to be filled with cluster bombs, outlawed in 109 countries. i mean, this is a perp i voted for -- a person i voted for president? i mean, really. shooting cluster bombs, rather -- shooting cruise missiles of cluster bombs at a country we're not at war with and then missing the target and killing 50 women and children. but that wasn't the end of it. the next day he made a very public phone call to the president of yemen thanking him for such a great terrorist operation that he performed when the president of yemen, saw -- salia, had nothing to do with
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it. it was entirely the obama administration, but salia had agreed to go along with it. which gets me kind of to the point i'm making, the point i want to make. we find out a lot of these things not from the u.s. government, but from whistleblowers. a lot of this came from the material that was leaked by manning, chelsea manning. so what happened was among the documents he released was a meeting between petraeus and the president of yemen, salia. and at that meeting which took place a couple months after that attack, and after that attack there were more, there was one on christmas eve and other attacks in yemen. and in that meeting there was a transcript that was leaked by the manning documents. and it said the -- they were laughing about it in the meeting, and the president of yemen said, yeah, i'll keep lying about it. and matter of fact, i'm even lying to my own parliament about it. so petraeus and salia had a good
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laugh about that. so these are the reasons why i really admire whistleblowers, because they tell us the things we really have to know lath rather -- ruther than the things they want us to know. one of the things i thought was really fascinating since i knew a number of people at the church committee was they were able to get nsa to come up and name a lot of the people that were targets of of their eavesdropping, the antiwar protesters and so forth. there were 1600 of them. and they actually came out with names, you know, real fear many people like dr. benjamin spock, joan baez -- [laughter] let's see, jane fonda. people you really have to worry about. well, there was one name -- there were actually a couple names, but one name in particular that they refused to release to the church committee despite all pleading. they would never release this
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one name to the church committee. but that name was finally released. i think it was last september it was released. and here's who it was -- [laughter] which is why we need another church committee. anyway, thanks very much. [applause] so i'll be happy to take questions, and i think john has a -- >> good. >> -- microphone. >> do we have -- fine. >> it's a fabulous presentation. i think all the audience learned much from the narrative, recounting the national security administration. i guess one of the things james to mitted, it was created by a top secret memorandum by harry
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truman in 1952. there wasn't any congressional debate, there wasn't public debate, it just sort of emerged from zeus' head. but i'm sure harry truman thought we'd be embarrassed by a discussion. >> that's true. yeah, it's the only agency in the u.s. government that wasn't created by a law in congress. it wasn't created by hearings, it wasn't created by a bill through congress. it was created by a top secret memorandum signed by harry truman in 1952 that was -- even the congress wasn't allowed to know about it. so it was, it's the only agency in the u.s. government that was born secret. >> yeah. which is, of course, the opposite of our postulates, that government must be transparent in order to have government by the consent of the governed. but it seemed apart to me that -- apparent to me other than a few cameo appearances nothing in your presentation involved congress. we have the whistleblowers, but where's congress? article i -- >> at least not until 1975. >> yeah. and that was just sort of an
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episodic instance in any event. we're talking about, as john henry said, the constitution of the united states. article i, section 6 specifically endows all members with what's called speech or debate immunity. it was exercised in the pentagon papers, 47 classified volumes of the pentagon papers into the record. he was investigated by the nixon administration -- >> i think i know where you're getting. i know the punchline here. [laughter] >> the reason for these observations is we can't depend upon our liberties that some brave whiting blowers from time to time -- whistleblowers will expose the wrongdoing of the the executive branch. it needs to be institutionalized. and until that's changed, we may get ed snowdens from time to time, but it isn't going to change the dynamic unless there's an insistence by the american people and congress that this be made public. i don't see any of that generation. you asked for another church
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committee. dianne feinstein or mike rodgers? >> yes. >> if anything, they help the cover up. >> yeah, exactly. [applause] and that was one of the points i usually make and i should have made it here was that i'm not asking for a church committee in congress, i'm asking for a external church committee, a committee that would be like a 9/11 commission and also one that just doesn't have former government officials on it, one that has a civil libertarian, a journalist and so forth. anyway, we've got to get other questions too, bruce. thanks. >> dorothy, you had a question. >> that was my question, which was who is the frank church of 2014? >> yeah. that was why i -- unless we could find somebody with the medical ability to bring him back to life and put him back into the senate, i wouldn't put the senate -- i wouldn't allow the senate or the congress to do this committee, because look
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where, look where they've come so far. you know, i've been following in this ever since the church committee, and the church committee, they took it upon themselves. their mission, at least the way they looked at it, they were the buffer between the american public and the committee. it's revolved now so that the intelligence committees in congress feel that they're the protecter of the agencies, not the protecter of the public. they argue for a bigger budget for the intelligence agencies whenever there's a cut in the budget, or they argue for more freedoms for the agencies. and where were they during the two and a half years until the times released the, you know, let the information get out about the warrantless eavesdropping which came from a
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whistleblower, not from our overseers in congress. yes, any other questions? >> jim -- >> oh, yes, sorry. deborah. deborah borman's a really good friend of mine. of she was the lead attorney on the tom drake case, and i worked on that case with a tremendously successful case. tom drake was a whistleblower from nsa who was charged with five counts of espionage for leaking some rather mundane information. i was able to show with the help of debbie that the information they were charging him with was not only unclassified and they wanted to put him in jail for 35 years, it was not only unclassified, but it was in the public domain and put there by the nsa and the pentagon. so when it came time for the trial, the prosecution threw the
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case out and asked him to, please, just sign this thing agreeing to a misdemeanor with no jail time and no fine, and a judge spent 20 minutes yelling at the prosecutor and the nsa. so it was a really good case, so i appreciated debbie's work on that. [applause] >> so hi, jim, it's good to see you. thank you for that. [laughter] >> for 'em -- embracerring you. >> slightly. i'm going to play dell's advocate a bit which is driven partly by this uncomfortable feeling i have with edward snowden, actually, and it's driven in large part by my experience in tom's case which is, you know, i've read articles in the post and the times that there are millions of documents -- well, i guess 1.7 million documents that he took, only a small snippet of which we've seen, and the vast majority of the documents that
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are in greenwald's possession and i presume you saw had really nothing to do with metadata or spying on americans. and, in fact, one of the slides you showed was a map of the world showing where our malware is. and i don't want want to comment on whether we need to know about that, but at what point is edward snowden going to be not this glamorous hero, but a thief? >> [inaudible] >> well, that's a good question because that's one of the major questions that people have. i mean, the question is you've got 1.7 million documents, we've only seen a little bit. and by the way, snowden didn't show me all these documents, i just, i was down there, he happened to show me a couple. but, yeah, that's a really good question, what happens to -- i mean, the major questions are, is could the chinese have gotten access to it, could the russians have gotten access to it? according to what snowden says,
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they didn't get access to it. i mean, speaking? speaking in snowden's defense, to some degree, you know, if you're a whistleblower and you're trying to get the documents out and you don't have time to sort of edit those documents while you're sitting there at your desk at nsa, so the idea is he would pull the documents out and not just put 'em up on the internet, but to give them to responsible journalists. and the journalists would go through them. that's what happened with dan else burg who's, actually, a good friend of mine. he gave it to "the new york times" and the washington post, and we ended up, ended up helping to shorten a war that we should never have gotten into. so, yeah, there's no perfect -- i don't think he went to whistleblower school. he probably didn't read how to be whistleblowers for dummies or whatever. is, you know, i give him a lot
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of courage, a lot of credit for the courage that he had -- what he did. i think there's a lot that the government is always saying, that, you know, the world's going to come to an end. they said the world was going to come to an end when yardly wrote the black chamber. they said the world was going to come to an end when david khan wrote the codebreakers. they said the world was going to come to an end when i wrote the puzzle palace. they say the world's going to come to an end every time i write something. but so far the world's still in pretty good shape, and the main problems we have of is getting into wars that we're not supposed to be in. [applause] and if we don't have whistleblowers occasionally, may not be perfect people, may make mistakes, then, you know, we're going to have these more wars, and we're going to have more government that we don't want and that we don't know about. so anyway, i am always happy to debate you, debbie.
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you're such a great lawyer. i always feel that i'm up against the greatest challenge. so i appreciate it. thanks for your questionment -- question. oh, yes. uh-huh? >> hi, thanks, jim, jeff steinberg. i wanted to pick up and follow a bit further on the hozny business because you -- hasny business hosni business because part of this is a subject of the 28-page section of the original joint congressional investigation into 9/11 -- >> right. >> -- that was suppressed by president bush and remains suppressed by president obama. this section from what we can derive from other writings and speeches by senator bob graham who chaired that committee indicated a line of investigation on saudi intelligence connections with the two hijackers in san diego funding mechanisms and
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apparently, also, the fact that the fbi refused to allow the congressional committee investigators access to the informant who owned the house where these two guys were staying. >> yeah. i know -- i wrote a whole book on 9/11, so -- but just give me the predicate of your question now. >> just for the comment, two members of congress have introduced a bill, walter jones and steve lynch, calling for every member to read the 28 pages and have it declassified. i wonder what your thoughts are on that dimension of this. >> well, i completely agree, and i actually have a lot of admiration for walter jones. walter jones, republican from north carolina. and he was the person who put a bill in, and when we went to war in iraq to change the name of french fries to freedom fries because the french weren't supporting our war. and then one day he read the book i wrote on iraq called "a pretext for war," and he completely changed, and he
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became one of the most vocal antiwar opponents within congress. so i was, i've always had great deal of admiration for him for admitting a mistake and trying to get out -- to get others to change also. yeah, or it's amazing what's still classified in those reports. i have no idea what it says. i haven't seen anybody leak it to me. i don't know what the saudi part is. there's a lot of people that have speculated what the saudi part is, so i don't know. but the committee did a very poor job on the nsa aspect which i wrote a lot about because they never focused on what the nsa knew and what they didn't know and so forth. and i agree with you that that should be released as soon as possible. oh, sorry, bill. >> judge schilling, a comment and a question. >> yeah. >> several years ago i was told what nsa really meant was no such agency. [laughter]
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>> yes. it now stands for not secret anymore. [laughter] >> and you might want to ask those who are visiting here to give their comments later on from nsa. but my question is, in light of the situation where the nsa and cia weren't cooperating before 9/11 and if they had it might have prevented it, going forward what do you think would be the proper balance between this kind of data collection and analysis for national security and protecting individual privacy? so what should whatever nsa turns into or other agencies be doing, and how should they cooperate with cia and others to protect interests while still protecting privacy? >> well, you know, one problem here is that, first of all, i'd like them to at least start telling the truth about how useful some of these programs are. you had the nsa go for years telling congress how useful the
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e-mail metadata program was. and it wasn't until senator wyden and senator udall put their feet to the fire and said, well, come back here and show us where it's been useful, and nsa couldn't do it. nsa had to shut that program down in 2011. the internet metadata program. and then when we're discussing this telephone metadata program, the director first came out and said there's 54 cases where this was -- it helped prevent 54 attacks or something like that. and then it was down to, like, 32 or whatever. and then all of a sudden we found out he wasn't really talking about the metadata program, the 215 program, he was talking about the prism program. and where you knock on the front door of the agency, the company with a warrant or an order from the fisa court. so when it came town to the actual -- down to the actual metaday program, it came down to
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one success. one success. and, actually, the deputy director actually admitted this on the -- the deputy direct canner, just left nsa, engel, admitted it on public radio about a week ago. it was one case, a guy in san diego who sent $8,000 to some group in somalia. i mean, it didn't have anything to do with the united states, but that's their one success for collecting all your telephone records since 2001. so that's what i really hope is that we can start starting to understand the useful programs from the useless programs and to apply not just the standard of some guy in the back room of -- or woman in the back room of a nsa listening post, but people who are in the civil liberties, privacy community hear other
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voices in this debate. >> [inaudible] >> hi. i'd like -- by question is just about this, do you think there is willingness in american society -- >> is there what? >> in american society to really restrict, to really end this kind of restricted activities of nsa considering the speech about this permanent threat of terrorism? [inaudible] an nsa that is expanding -- >> but, yeah. no, it's a good question because the question is, basically, do you think there's any public support for this. i mean, the problem is you're going up against the terror machine, the fear mongering machine. i mean, how do you argue if we don't do this, we're going to have another 9/11 tomorrow or whatever? and that's always the problem, this rational, putting a
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rational -- making a rational argument when you're getting irrational, irrational arguments from the government. and the fear, the fear is the -- so that's one of the key things, is to try to get -- i mean, i wish the press would do more showing the relative nonsense of as much sop of the this fear -- so much of this year. i mean, we've had, what, 23 people -- [applause] have been killed from terrorism since 2007, and of -- and half of that was major nidal hasan, the army major, and the fbi in san diego had been picking up his conversations with anwar al-awlaki. so it wasn't even a question of they didn't know about it. so, you know, i've always been amazed at the united states how it's against the law to take a bottle of shampoo onto an
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airplane, but you can buy as many assault weapons as you want? what sense does that make? [laughter] unfortunately, i've got to only answer the questions where are there's a mic because this is being recorded by c-span so if i answer a question where there's no mic, they won't pick up the question. so i have to go where the mic is. >> i want to highlight to people we'll be having an event to remedy some of the problems, we'll have several of the whistleblowers or that you mentioned, russell tice will be there immediately following obama's address, so people can check it out online. it'll be live streamed at 12:30. obama's speaking at 11. they can go to to get the insights of the whistle l blowers immediately following obama's address. i'd hike to ask you a brief -- i'd like to ask you a brief question about sort of the pushback on the international scope of it. certainly, nations spy on each other, but shouldn't we have some kind of limits on, you
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know, can the nsa spy on democracy activists in egypt, for example? is the delineation between u.s. person and non-u.s. person the most genuinely meaningful that we want to set up here? thank you. >> yeah. again, that's another good question. this whole issue doesn't really resonate at all in the united states, and that's -- what about the rest of the people in the world? i mean, we don't care about any of the people many germany or france or anywhere else? yes, they have their own intelligence services spying, but still. you know, it's a question of sort of digital imperialism in a sense. and i hear that argument a lot, you know? every country spies. we all spy, every country spies. but every country doesn't have the nine largest internet companies home based in their
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backyard, and when you do have the nine largest internet companies in your backyard, you can force them to do things that other countries can't do. you can go to google, and you can force them to to give you whatever you want. but the nsa goes well beyond that. that's the front door. they also go through the back door. they tap into the fiber optic links between the data centers. so, no, i think that would -- that's something that i would like to see at least addressed is what -- where is this leading us in terms of worldwide surveillance of everybody, and is it rational we're paying for this? and are we just building the haystack so high that you'll never be able to find a needle? good questions. >> jim, i'm marc rotenberg from the electronic privacy information center. i wanted to talk you very much for your -- i wanted to thank you very much for this talk. as you know, it was epic that brought the original challenge
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to the collection program last summer to the supreme court. we were supported in that effort by dozens of legal scholars and former members of the church committee who agreed that under section 215 there simply wasn't the authority for the nsa to collect all of telephone records on american citizens. but what i want to ask you about is the historical significance of the president's speech tomorrow morning. and it seems to me that if we take a step back and think about the significant reform efforts in this area, we recall, for example, the congress of 1974 post-watergate that passed the privacy act and strengthened the freedom of information act, and the congress after the church committee that established the foreign intelligence surveil answer act. -- surveillance act. don't you think we have sufficient evidence at this point that points toward comprehensive legislative reform this light of what we know to safeguard privacy in the
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country? >> well, i certainly do, marc. epic's a terrific organization, i've been on the another visely -- advisory board for them for a long time. they originally fought nsa when they wanted to do the clipper chip. and that was where the nsa would force the encryption companies in the u.s. to turn the keys over to nsa for letting them use the back door. and the public and the congress rejected that largely because of what epic was doing. and then we find out from the snowden documents, that didn't make any difference since they're going around the back door anyway and eavesdropping. so, yeah, it's a good question. the problem as somebody mentioned earlier, frank church isn't in congress anymore. we've got dianne feinstein. and i just don't see an awful lot of momentum in congress to
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work on or to actually pass some privacy bills with teeth in it. i would really like to see that happen. and, you know, we're living in this, still living in this post-9/11 period which we weren't living in back in those days. and it's just, as i mentioned, the fear machine. it gets -- it's self-generating. so you get the congress, they have to go up for re-election every two years. they know that a new budget increase for nsa or they vote for the bill instead, their to point's going to say, well, my opponent here, he's weak on terrorism. so if you're blown up by the next terrorist bomb, it's going to be his fault. and that serves as a disincentive to these congress people to push for, you know,
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progressive legislation and falling back on just pouring more money into the intelligence community. but, yeah, that's one of the reasons why i'm an adviser to epic, because i think epic does a great job of trying to get these bills passed. >> there's been a couple references here or at least one to the fact that we have to balance our rights against national security, and that seems how an effort, a vigorous effort by a lot of people to reframe the argument or frame argument that we have to balance these rights, our constitutional rights, versus national security. and it seems lost in that. if, in fact, the bill of rights was, as mr. henry alluded to at the beginning, really the means for us as a sovereign people versus what we previously were subject under the monarchy to be the overseers, provide oversight to our government. meaning the malfeasance or misfeasance or government officials. so going back some of us are old enough to remember the '70s as you've already talked to. the army spying on american antiwar activists to suppress
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that free speech and right to know. here we have the nsa, again, a d.o.t. agency, doing it on a massive scale worldwide. and the question seems, to me, to be why are we willing to relinquish to government officials military especially who have a very narrow folks this right to know that we as american citizens should have? i think vietnam was the best example showing that the army, the military was wrong, and the antiwar activists were right. and they're the ones who managed to keep us from degrading into the same kind of catastrophic failure that the soviet union did only 15 years later, because we had that right to know. where is the outrage, i guess, is my question. [applause] >> right. well, yeah. that's always the problem, is trying to create outrage. i write books, i write articles, and i do documentaries and so forth, so i'm always hoping that we're going to create some momentum for things. but it's hard getting the
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american public to get energized between issues that don't deal with saving them from the terrorists or saving them from iraq or saving them, you know? and i don't have the answer to that. i wish i did. but you're 100% right that during the 1970s the army actually was used in the united states to spy, to eavesdrop on u.s. citizens. it's another outrage, another reason why the church committee was formed. so, yeah. you know, motivating the public isn't -- if i knew the answer to that, i'd, you know, be selling toothpaste or something and make millions of dollars. but i don't know how to motivate the public. i just know how to write books and whatever. yes, bill. >> jim, i'm curious, you've warned us of danger of inadvertent release of all of this vast store of information, but to your knowledge are we
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intentionally sharing any of this megadata with foreign cups, and if so, do you have any idea which ones? >> well, yeah. you know, it's really interesting, people don't really realize in this, but it's not just the nsa. the nsa is just one element of a much larger organization. it's called the u.k./usa agreement, otherwise known as the five is. i don't know why they call it the five eyes, it should be the ten ears. [laughter] but that's what they call it, the five eyes, and that's the united states, the u.k., australia, new zealand and canada. it's basically the same organization, and after world war ii it was very, you know, successful world war ii, the code breaking in germany, the purple machine in japan and so forth. so the cups wanted to stay -- the countries wanted to stay together and continue doing their code breaking and so forth. so what they did was they divided the world up in terms of
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fears of eavesdropping capabilities. so the u.k. could eavesdrop on europe very well, the u.s. could do south america, the, you know, australians and the new zealanders could do the southeast asians and so on and so forth. so it's one big organization that does this spying, so everything that's picked up by the united states is shared with those five countries, but there's a lot of sharing that goes onioned that. one of the -- beyond that. one of the documents i saw that was fairly shocking that i saw from the snowden release was that the nsa was turning over the israel -- to israel all the raw data that the u.s. was collecting. i mean, without even ever going through the, having some oversight or overview or something. just turning it over. so that's the problem you have when you have a situation like that. you have the government that collects all this stuff. there's nobody overseeing it, nobody saying you're not allowed to do that. they just give it to whoever
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they want. i don't particularly want the israelis to know who i'm calling every day or whatever. why should they know? so, no, i agree. that's a big problem, where is this data once hay collect it? once they collect it, it's going in this big place i wrote about in utah called bluffdale which, apparently, is not being a very big success. it's 1-- it's $2 million, one million square feet, and every time they turn a switch on, one of the servers melts. so they haven't had a lot of luck with that. but that's where supposedly it's going to be stored, and they can share it. digital information you can share very easily. they'll share it with whoever they want. norman, yes? >> you mentioned senator church, but senator church was from idaho, came from a distinctive political culture. his ancestor was probably senator -- [inaudible] who many people will think of as
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a terrible isolationist but who, in fact, was a great opponent of centralized power, governmental tyranny, arbitrary decision. so the question that we've all raised, how come our citizenry isn't more active or more outraged, or how come the aclu protests and editorials in the times and so on but there center a kind of study, broad-based possibility rooted protest? and probably the answer to that lies in other features of the culture. namely our social institutions, the fact that when you signed a contract for a phone, or you're signing something away, you're powerless in the face of these very sizable institutions
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whether they're big banks or communications companies, and this is apparently -- i would suggest that this intuesdays a kind of of general -- induces a kind of general paralysis or passivity which requires real heroism to oppose, and everybody knows heroism isn't everybody's forte. >> well, yeah, exactly. i mean, that is -- that's why whistleblowers are so rare, because in a society like this, it's much easier to go along. and if you're in certain areas in society and you're saying that there is no threat to terrorism, people are going to look at you like you're a screaming radical or something like that. if you actually look at the statistics, the person would be absolutely right, but it's this fear mongering that goes on. that is really, to me, the worst part about it, the fear mongering, and it's not really
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carried much in the press either. and so what to do about it, i really don't know. but i try in everything i write to sort of indicate the level of risk and that the level of risk is very small from things like terrorism when it's very large on our gun control and things like that. but anyway, i wish there was some magic solution, i just don't have it. >> my question is earlier you were describing the 54 events whereby they were trying to come up with evidence finish. >> right. >> do you have any idea how much money they spent specifically on that program and how many people are being employed to do nothing, essentially? >> yeah. i have no idea. but nsa's budget just keeps growing and growing. i mean, it was all top secret until the snowden document came out, and so the budget was. there's a huge -- nsa is the largest intelligence agency in
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the world. it's 35,000 employees, and you've got another 15,000 or so that are contractorsment -- contractors. so you've got all that money and all those people out there and, yeah, that's a big question, what do you get out of it? and they -- it's almost like they're doing it because it's an academic exercise, because we can do it. we're eavesdropping because we can, so we will. and that's really a problem. and that's why if you have a senate and house intelligence committee that don't hold their feet to the fire like the church committee, the committees -- wasn't just church, but there were other committees back in the '70s that did that, you're going to have these programs. again, as i mentioned, the nsa kept arguing that the internet metadata, the e-mail metadata
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program was a roaring success until they were forced by only two senators -- udall and wyden, to put up or shut up, and they continue put up. so they had to shut the program down. you know, and while i'm thinking of it just so i can mention it because i forgot it before, but, you know, we were talking about whistleblowers and so forth be, and, you know, penalizing whistle l blowers. well, you know, where's the penalties in the u.s. government for breaking the law? where's clapper? [applause] he hasn't even been, he hasn't even been criticized by the president, let alone indicted. and, you know, how many people from the warrantless eavesdropping operation were ever prosecuted? that was complete violation of foreign intelligence surveillance act. i know that act inside out. if you have -- even in a time of war, you only have i think it is five extra days to do warrantless eavesdropping. after that you go back to
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warrant. but nobody ever gets punished. it's this lack of accountability. general alexander, head of the nsa. he's the equivalent of an aircraft carrier that just ran into the rock of gibraltar. you know, would a navy captain the still be running the ship? he's still running the nsa. the worst security breach in u.s. history. so there's no accountability within the administration. you've got to start with accountability before you start getting any reform. how are you going to get reform if you let the same people that make all the mistakes continue making them? >> yes. i'm from the government accountability project -- [laughter] we represent edward snowden and tom drake and edward loomis. and i just wanted to point out that the congress actually took out of the whistleblower protection enhancement act any protections from retaliation for
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intelligence community whistleblowers and, therefore, they're vulnerable to any action the government takes against them or the private corporation. do you see on the horizon any enhanced protections from reprisal coming from the congress or the obama administration? >> yeah. you point out, you know, some really important facts there, the fact that the whistleblowers don't have protection, and that's one of the things that the administration keeps talking about. well, you know, they have these proper channels they can go through. well, they don't have those proper channels, and i don't see any legislation. i've been watching this for a year because that's, you know, my bread and butter comes from whistleblowers. that's how i'm able to write a lot of the things i do. and to give you one quick example here, one of the people that i quoted from in my last book, "the shadow factory," was adrian kinney who was a employee
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of, who was an nsa what they called voice intercept operator down at the nsa's huge listening post in the state of georgia here where they eavesdrop on a lot of the middle east communications remotely through satellites and so forth. and she was -- among the things that they were doing was eavesdropping on americans calling americans. in other words, journalists or aid workers or americans who happened to be in the middle east who happened to call their spouses in the united states and were having bedtime conversations and so forth. and she didn't particularly want to listen to that. she said it was like reading somebody's diary, she didn't want to do it. so she protested all the way up from her little position at the listening post in georgia all the way up to the head of the army intelligence and security command which was, which ran all
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that. and his name happened to be keith alexander at the time. [laughter] and that got nowhere. so then she climbed up ladder on the congressional side and got all the way to the senate intelligence committee chairman leahy. and, again, nothing happened. so she finally talked to me, and i really asked her to go full face and full name and let me use that. because otherwise the government's going to say, oh, you're just making it up or whatever. so she did, and it was a very brave act on her part. but. >> she felt very strongly that the government was doing this, and this is the problem whistleblowers face. they don't have any real protection. we were able to do a few things behind scenes that got her protection within two hours of the time we came out with my book. it was on abc news. senator rockefeller, the chairman of the senate intelligence committee at the
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time, agreed to hold -- not hold hearings, but agreed to an investigation. and they immediately asked her if she would testify, and she said she would which made her a witness before a committee. so they couldn't prosecute her without obstructing ap investigation of congress -- an investigation of congress. so you have to do all these things in order to protect sources, but i'm very -- i've never had a source ever get arrested or prosecuted, and i want to keep it that way. but, listen, it's been -- >> jim, we told c-span we'd quit at 8:15. >> okay. >> there's so many questions out here. would you stay and answer some questions? >> yeah. i don't want to keep people here who don't want to be here, so if you want to leave -- >> there are a lot of questions. >> i'm happy to keep asking them. >> thank you so much, jim. [applause] >> thanks, john. thank you very much. i really appreciate it. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] >> by the way, i think they're selling books out there, and they've asked me to notify you that my books are for sale. the capitalist society here. [inaudible conversations] >> is there a nonfiction author or book you'd like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail at


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