January 22, 2009 | By Tim Jones

Whistleblower Reveals New Abuses of Wiretapping Power

Last night, less than 48 hours after George Bush left office, whistleblower and former NSA analyst Russell Tice revealed new information about the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program:

mytubethumbplay
Privacy info. This embed will serve content from msn.com
.msnbcLinks {font-size:11px; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #999; margin-top: 5px; background: transparent; text-align: center; width: 425px;} .msnbcLinks a {text-decoration:none !important; border-bottom: 1px dotted #999 !important; font-weight:normal !important; height: 13px;} .msnbcLinks a:link, .msnbcLinks a:visited {color: #5799db !important;} .msnbcLinks a:hover, .msnbcLinks a:active {color:#CC0000 !important;}

Countdown begins the segment with an appropriate clip of Ex-President Bush's December 2005 talk on wiretapping, in which he claimed that the only communications being intercepted were those with "a clear link to terrorist networks."

Tice, in his role as an NSA analyst, quickly came to understand that this just wasn't true:

I don't know what our former president knew or didn't know. I'm sort of down in the weeds. But the National Security Agency had access to all Americans' communications, faxes, phone calls, and their computer communications. And that doesn't -- it didn't matter whether you were in Kansas, you know, in the middle of the country, and you never made a communication -- foreign communications at all. They monitored all communications.

Tice also reveals how NSA officials lied to Congress and others in order to avoid oversight:

TICE: One of the things that could be done was you could take something that was part of the Department of Defense, make it part of the intelligence community, and put a caveat to that, and make that whatever the intelligence community is doing for support will ultimately be given a different caveat. So when the defense committees on the Hill come calling, you say, you can't look at that because that's an intelligence program.

OLBERMANN: Right.

TICE: But when the intelligence program comes calling, you say you can't look at that because it is a Department of Defense program.

OLBERMANN: Right.

TICE: So you basically have a little shell game that you are playing back and forth.

The interview is riveting and full of other revealations. Olbermann promises us a follow-up interview with Tice tonight. MSNBC.com has the video and FishbowlDC has the transcript.


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

A report by @caparsons on how unaccountable telecom practices and policies threaten Canadians: https://eff.org/r.bth6

May 27 @ 4:16pm

Heard of TPP or TTIP? TISA is another trade agreement making rules for the Internet, just as secretive but bigger: https://eff.org/r.95nc

May 27 @ 3:59pm

In San Francisco? Join EFF Saturday for a panel on art & surveillance as part of the SF International Arts Festival. https://eff.org/r.sicm

May 27 @ 3:55pm
JavaScript license information