William Binney is one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA. He was a leading code-breaker against the Soviet Union during the Cold War but resigned soon after September 11, disgusted by Washington’s move towards mass surveillance.
On 5 July he spoke at a conference in London organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism and revealed the extent of the surveillance programs unleashed by the Bush and Obama administrations.
“At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US”, Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”
The NSA will soon be able to collect 966 exabytes a year, the total of internet traffic annually. Former Google head Eric Schmidt once argued that the entire amount of knowledge from the beginning of humankind until 2003 amount to only five exabytes.
“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control”, Binney said ….
Washington’s Blog asked William Binney about NSA’s claims that it doesn’t spy on Americans.
BILL BINNEY: Fairview is the program they use that produces most of the content and metadata on US citizens. Note the distribution of tape points in the lower 48 states.
WASHINGTON’S BLOG: The US 990-Fairview slide certainly shows NSA sucking up alot of data from within America.
But the press characterizes Fairview as gathering info solely on foreigners. Sounds like this is false?
In other words, Fairview sucks up information – content and metadata – on Americans and foreigners, and then NSA simply retains and stores the info?
BILL BINNEY: If NSA was after only foreigners, then they would have collection points on the east and west coasts at points where the transoceanic cables surface. Anythingother than that is collecting domestic communications – the PSTN phone network and the world wide web.
Washington’s Blog made very crude mock-up of what the Fairview map might look like if it was only focused on gathering foreign communications … with collection points solely on the east and west coasts at points where the transoceanic cables surface:
Compare that to the actual map, above.
Back to our conversation with Binney …
You could argue that Stormbrew [another “upstream” collection program … see below] is targeted at foreign by the distribution. But, some of that is also questionable. This does not count input from cooperative countries (second and third parties) on domestic activity collected by them as well. To the point, they have done nothing but lie to us.
In other words, the Stormbrew map is a pretty good proxy for what foreign surveillance locations shouldlook like. But the Fairview map shows many more collection points all over the country … proving that the NSA is specifically collecting information on Americans living on U.S. soil.
(Fairview and Stormbrew are both “upstream” collection programs, meaning that data is pulled directly from fiber-optic cables and top-level communications infrastructure … which sucks in a lot more information than is available through individual websites or computers. The NSA slides on Fairview and Stormbrew were leaked by Edward Snowden. But Binney is one of the people with the most expertise necessary to interpret the slides. After all, Binney was the technical director for the NSA, the chief of its global digital data gathering program, and a 37-year agency veteran.)
For background on what Binney means by “input from cooperative countries (second and third parties) on domestic activity”, see this, this and this:
Senior NSA executive Thomas Drake confirms the importance of Fairview:
According to Thomas Drake, a former National Security Agency senior executive who blew the whistle on the agency’s reckless spending and spying in 2006, a previously unknown NSA surveillance program known as FAIRVIEW aims to “own the Internet.”
Drake pointed out that FAIRVIEW is also the method through which the NSA receives the information it has collected, essentially co-opting the fiber optic cables to transmit the data back to the agency to be analyzed by data mining programs.
Indeed – for 5,000 years straight – mass surveillance of one’s own people has always been used by tyrants to crush dissent
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