Photo: NYT/Laura Poitras
National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney explains how the secretive agency run its pervasive domestic spying apparatus in a new piece by Laura Poitras in The New York Times.Binney—one of the best mathematicians and code breakers in NSA history—worked for the defence Department’s foreign signals intelligence agency for 32 years before resigning in late 2001 because he “could not stay after the NSA began purposefully violating the Constitution.”
In a short video called “The Program,” Binney explains how the agency took part of one of the programs he built and started using it to spy on virtually every U.S. citizen without warrants under the code-name Stellar Wind.
Binney details how the top-secret surveillance program, the scope of which has never been made public, can track electronic activities—phone calls, emails, banking and travel records, social media—and map them to collect “all the attributes that any individual has” in every type of activity and build a profile based on that data.
“So that now I can pull your entire life together from all those domains and map it out and show your entire life over time,” Binney says.
The 8-minute video, adapted from an ongoing project by Poitras that is to be released in 2013, has footage of the construction of the NSA’s $2 billion data storage facility in Bluffdale, Utah, which Binney says “has the capacity to store 100 years worth of the world’s electronic communications.”
The purpose of the program, according to Binney, is “to be able to monitor what people are doing” and who they are doing it with.
“The danger here is that we fall into a totalitarian state,” Binney says. “This is something the KGB, the Stasi or the Gestapo would have loved to have had.”
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