Saturday, May 13, 2006

Secret Illegal Star Wars Surveillance

From Chris Strohm at the National Journal:
A former intelligence officer for the National Security Agency said he plans to tell Senate staffers next week that unlawful activity occurred at the agency under the supervision of Gen. Michael Hayden beyond what has been publicly reported, while hinting that it might have involved the illegal use of space-based satellites and systems to spy on U.S. citizens.

Russell Tice, who worked on what are known as "special access programs," has wanted to meet in a closed session with members of Congress and their staff since President Bush announced in December that he had secretly authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens without a court order. In an interview late Thursday, Tice said the Senate Armed Services Committee finally asked him to meet next week in a secure facility on Capitol Hill.

Tice was fired from the NSA last May. He said he plans to tell the committee staffers the NSA conducted illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of U.S. citizens while he was there with the knowledge of Hayden, who has been nominated to become director of the CIA. Tice said one of his co-workers personally informed Hayden that illegal and unconstitutional activity was occurring.

. . .

Tice originally asked to meet with the Senate and House Intelligence committees, but they did not respond to his request. . . .

Tice said his information is different from the Terrorist Surveillance Program that Bush acknowledged in December and from news accounts this week that the NSA has been secretly collecting phone call records of millions of Americans.

"It's an angle that you haven't heard about yet," he said.

According to an unclassified resume, Tice was a specialist in space operations systems, command and control warfare, advanced technology and all-source collection analysis. During an 18-year career, he worked on some of the most secretive programs in the government.

Tice would not discuss with a reporter the details of his allegations, saying doing so would compromise classified information and put him at risk of going to jail. He said he "will not confirm or deny" if his allegations involve the illegal use of space systems and satellites.

And here's an excerpt from a January article by Strohm where Tice explained that he wanted to "spill his guts" to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. They ignored him until now:
Tice sent a letter Dec. 16 to the chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees saying he wants to report suspected illegal activity. "These acts involve the director of the National Security Agency, the deputy chiefs of staff for air and space operations and the U.S. secretary of defense," he said.

The letter was sent the same day The New York Times reported that President Bush secretly authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens without a court order.

Tice said he did not work on the program referenced in the Times article, but that his allegations are equally explosive.

"That was Hiroshima and this is Nagasaki," he said. "I want to talk about Nagasaki, which nobody's heard about yet."

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