December 17, 2008 | By Tim Jones

First Interview with the NSA Whistleblower

Over the weekend, Newsweek revealed Thomas M. Tamm as the man who first blew the whistle on the Bush Administration's illegal warrantless wiretapping program. Last night, Mr. Tamm gave his first public interview on The Rachel Maddow Show:

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I remember when I was figuring out that something was going on extra-judicially, I looked at the NSA websites, and they proudly talked about the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution: the right of the people to be secure in their persons and their places. That's part of the reason we fought the Revolutionary War.

And then... we learned that the only way we can be kept safe is for the government to break our laws? I just disagree with that. I think we are stronger and better as a nation when we follow the Constitution, when we follow the statutes, and when we follow the rule of law.

When asked whether he thought the illegal wiretapping program should result in prosecutions, Tamm put a finer point on his words about the rule of law:

Maddow: Do you think in order to move forward and pay tribute to the rule of law that their ought to be prosecutions?

Tamm: I certainly think it ought to be looked at. I really do... It offends me, that we feel that we're not strong enough as a country, that our laws are not strong enough, that our Congress is not strong enough, that our courts are not strong enough to protect us... I think it should be looked at very seriously.

Like AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein's interview with Keith Olbermann earlier this year, it's a great reminder of the basic principles at stake in the fight to hold telcos accountable for illegal spying.


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