A brief break from the spreading financial calamity, and increasingly twisted presidential campaign circus: It turns out that, as feared, the National Security Agency was tapping the phones of far more Americans than previously disclosed, according to two whistleblowers unearthed by journalist James Bamford. ABC’s Brian Ross reports:
“These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones,” said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA’s Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003. Kinne described the contents of the calls as “personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism.” She said US military officers, American journalists and American aid workers were routinely intercepted and “collected on” as they called their offices or homes in the United States.
Another intercept operator, former Navy Arab linguist, David Murfee Faulk, 39, said he and his fellow intercept operators listened into hundreds of Americans picked up using phones in Baghdad’s Green Zone from late 2003 to November 2007. “Calling home to the United States, talking to their spouses, sometimes their girlfriends, sometimes one phone call following another,” said Faulk.
One whistleblower said that NSA employees would entertain themselves listening to “phone sex” and “pillow talk.” But I am sure this was all done to protect us from the terrorists. As President Bush has promised, “There is a constant check to make sure that our civil liberties of our citizens are treated with respect.” And Bush runs a government that always tells it straight to the American people. Oh wait, that’s not true at all. See here, here, here, &tc., &tc.
The Senate Intelligence Committee plans to investigate.