Whistleblower Russell Tice Tells More
by Stephen Lendman
Edward Snowden hopes his revelations embolden others to come forward. Tice did years earlier.
He’s a former Office of Naval Intelligence/Defense Intelligence Agency/NSA analyst. His career spanned 20 years.
In December 2005, he accused NSA and DIA of unconstitutionally wiretapping US citizens. He got national attention, saying:
“Everyone at NSA knew what they were doing was illegal, because it’s drilled into our heads over and over that it’s against NSA policy, that you do not do that. The choice is to speak out and get fired.”
Bush administration officials maintained secrecy. The New York Times knew about but stayed silent.
In December 2005, that changed. Times writers James Risen and Eric Lichtblau headlined “Bush Lets US Spy on Callers Without Courts.”
A follow-up article headlined “Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report,” saying:
“The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said.”
“It was collected by tapping directly into some of the American telecommunication system’s main arteries, they said”.
“As part of the program approved by President Bush for domestic surveillance without warrants, the NSA has gained the cooperation of American telecommunications companies to obtain backdoor access to streams of domestic and international communications, the officials said.”
Post-9/11, lawless spying became official policy. In 2002, Bush authorized it by presidential order. Big Brother watches everyone. So-called threats were invented to justify it.
In May 2005, Tice urged Congress to pass legislation affording federal intelligence whistleblowers stronger protections. Days later, NSA fired him.
On December 16, 2005, he wrote the following:
The Honorable Pat Roberts
United States Senate
Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
Member, Senate Armed Services Committee
109 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-1605
Dear Chairman Roberts,
“Under the provisions of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA), I intend to report to Congress probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts conducted while I was an intelligence officer with the National Security Agency (NSA) and with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).”
“These acts involve the Director of the National Security Agency, the Deputies Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, and the U.S. Secretary of Defense.”
“These probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts were conducted via very highly sensitive intelligence programs and operations known as Special Access Programs (SAP)s.”
“I was a technical intelligence specialist dealing almost exclusively with SAP programs and operations at both NSA and DIA.”
“Due to the highly sensitive nature of these programs and operations, I will require assurances from your committee that the staffers and/or congressional members to participate retain the proper security clearances, and also have the appropriate SAP cleared facilities available for these discussions.”
“Please inform me when you require my appearance on Capitol Hill to conduct these discussions in relation to this ICWPA report.”
Russell D. Tice
Former Intelligence Officer, NSA
A follow-up April 25, 2006 letter said:
Dear Chairman Roberts,
“Over four months ago, on 16 December 2005, I wrote to you requesting to report to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) probable illegal conduct in the Intelligence Community (IC) regarding Special Access Programs (SAP)s.”
“I made this request under the provisions of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA). My concern was that probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts were conducted while I was an intelligence officer with the National Security Agency (NSA) and with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).”
“I informed you that these acts involve the Director of the National Security Agency, the US Air Force Deputies Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, and the U.S. Secretary of Defense.”
“To this date, I have not received a response from you or the SSCI addressing my request to testify about these SAP programs.”
“In a letter addressed to me by NSA on 09 Jan ‘06 (letter provided), of which NSA also provided you a copy, they asserted that neither you nor any senator on the SSCI retains high enough security clearances to hear about the intelligence work I performed in these very highly classified programs and operations.”
“NSA’s assertion did not appear credible to me, considering I was an intelligence officer and the ICWPA suggests that the congressional intelligence committees are responsible for intelligence oversight.”
“The press has suggested that the Senate Armed Services Committee may be the proper place for me to testify about the SAP intelligence misconduct that I would like to report. Other rumors circulated that no one in congress is allowed access to this information.”
“One news article said that the SSCI Vice Chair admitted that the intelligence committee did not have jurisdiction. In their letter, NSA did not make mention of any other congressional committee that was cleared.”
“The staff of the HPSCI believes that I fall into a “gray” area between intelligence and military special programs.”
“As the responsible committee for intelligence in the Senate, I have been waiting for your directions on this matter. If another committee is the proper place for me to testify, I believe it is your responsibility to forward my request to that committee and keep me informed of the process.”
“You are also a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and, as such, should know if SAP related intelligence programs fall within the jurisdiction of intelligence and/or the military committees.”
“If the SSCI is indeed the proper place for me to convey this intelligence related misconduct, I likewise believe it is your responsibility to inform me of such. This, of course, has not been the case.”
“In the absence of any direction, I recently have been researching this question of jurisdiction. In doing so, I have stumbled upon a directive that seems to address the question of who in congress is cleared to know about these SAP programs.”
“US Code, Title 10, Subtitle A, Part 1, Chapter 2, Subsection 119 (Special Access Program: Congressional Oversight), dated 12 July 2005 (provided) states that the Senate and House Appropriations, Appropriations Defense Sub, and Armed Services Committees are responsible for reviewing ‘waved’ SAP programs.”
“No mention is specifically made in regard to the considerable intelligence missions associated with these SAPs.”
“Nonetheless, with this Title 10 directive clearly addressing congressional oversight of SAPs, and in the absence of any direction from the SSCI committee you chair, I have decided to direct all further intelligence related inquires and requests that involve the SAP related ICWPA concern I need to report, to the aforementioned alternate committees.”
“The very same request I made of you and the SSCI over four months ago, I am now making to these alternate committees. They will be receiving letters from me in conjunction with this letter to you.”
Russell D. Tice
Former Intelligence Officer,
National Security Agency
On December 22, 2005, Tice said:
“As a Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) officer, it is continually drilled into us that the very first law chiseled in the SIGINT equivalent of the Ten Commandments (USSID-18) is that Thou shall not spy on American persons without a court order from FISA.”
“This law is continually drilled into each NSA intelligence officer throughout his or her career. The very people that lead the National Security Agency have violated this holy edict of SIGINT.”
“In addition to knowing this fundamental commandment of not violating the civil rights of Americans, intelligence officers are required to take an oath to protect the United States Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic.”
“It is with my oath as a US intelligence officer weighing heavy on my mind that I wish to report to congress acts that I believe are unlawful and unconstitutional.”
“The freedom of the American people cannot be protected when our constitutional liberties are ignored and our nation has decayed into a police state.”
In response, National Security Whisleblowers Coalition (NSWBC) founder Sibel Edmonds said:
“These actions by the current administration are a compulsion to secrecy, an expansive view of presidential authority, and reluctance to answer to the people and Congress.”
“Woodrow Wilson, himself no novice concerning secrecy, claimed that it is a ‘fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety.’ ”
“That is a presumption that we have been called upon to suspend in the name of national security, but with recent disclosures that suspended judgment appears to have been unwise.”
“We urge the congress to hold hearings and let patriotic witnesses like Russ Tice testify.”
On June 21, Edmonds’ Boiling Frogs Post.com (BFP) headlined “MSNBC Censors NSA Whistleblower Russ Tice Minutes Before Interview,” saying:
On June 19, BFP “broke the news on” NSA targeting political candidates. Included were “elected officials, federal judges, law firms and activists, including candidate Barack Obama.”
Tice revealed it. Edmonds called his revelations a “bombshell.” He went on record with new information. He named “official culprits involved.”
He explained how NSA “targets, sucks-in, stores and analyzes illegally obtained content from the masses in the United States.”
“He revealed for the first time the NSA Deep State involved in the targeting and wiretapping of US elected officials, political candidates, federal judges,” and many others.
Candidate Obama’s phone was tapped. It was done without his knowledge. It was done lawlessly. He knows but won’t say.
Major media scoundrels deny Tice a proper platform. When interviewed, he’s prohibited from explaining this type information. MSNBC censored him. They did so moments before air time.
Following his censored interview, Tice told BFP:
“When they were placing the ear-phone in my ear with less than ten minutes left till my air time, the producer in New York said that their lawyers were discussing the material, and at this time, they did not want me to mention anything about the NSA wiretaps against all the people and organizations that I mentioned.”
“That is how it went down. I did say on the air that I know it is much worse and would like to talk about that some time.”
Media scoundrels violate core journalistic ethics. They require truth and full disclosure. Managed news misinformation substitutes.
All news vital to report is suppressed. Readers, viewers and listeners are cheated. It’s the American way. Whistleblowers are more important than ever. Sunshine matters most.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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