Former National Security Agency (NSA) Technical Leader and whistle blower Bill Binney has stated that the biggest threat to U.S. citizens is their own government. In a Reddit.com Ask Me Anything the long time NSA critic answered questions from the reddit community, covering topics related to NSA mass surveillance and his own thoughts on privacy. When asked about the biggest threat to US citizens and what can be done, he responded:
The biggest threat to U.S. citizens is the U.S. government.
Fire everyone in DC!
Binney also responded to questions about the surveillance and wiretapping system he developed for the NSA, ThinThread, which was designed to automatically detect terror threats while protecting the privacy of US citizens. Binney left the NSA in the wake of 9/11 shortly after ThinThread was discontinued in favor of the Trailblazer Project, which did not have the same privacy safeguards in place and would eventually be shut down after going over budget and costing taxpayers billions of dollars. Of the switch from ThinThread Binney said, “ThinThread was killed in 2001 and so is not producing any threat assessments now…. All the programs currently in use by NSA have failed to produce results on anything, but are really good at bulk collection.” He went on to advocate for infiltration of national intelligence agencies and associated contractors by hactivists and other concerned citizen tech workers:
Im all for infiltration! And when you do that you bring with it your integrity and character.
He stated that bulk surveillance is not necessary to protect everyone and warned that NSA has enough resources to bypass any privacy safeguard. He also listed a number of whistleblowers whom he respects, including Jesselyn Radack, Tom Drake, Kirk Wiebe, John Kiriakou, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Jeffrey Stirling and Russ Tice.
Binney is a former highly placed intelligence official with the United States NSA turned whistleblower who resigned on October 31, 2001, after more than 30 years with the agency. He was a high-profile critic of his former employers during the George W. Bush administration.
Binney continues to speak out during Barack Obama’s presidency about the NSA’s data collection policies, and continues interviews in the media regarding his experiences and his views on communication intercepts by governmental agencies of American citizens. In a legal case, Binney has testified in an affidavit that the NSA is in deliberate violation of the U.S. Constitution.