US Cuts Bush-era Phone Spying to Save Money, Not Privacy - Ex-NSA Tech Chief

© Flickr / Steve JurvetsonThanks to the revelations of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, we know that the officially reported number of wiretaps falls drastically short.
Thanks to the revelations of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, we know that the officially reported number of wiretaps falls drastically short. - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The National Security Council (NSA) has ended its mega-data surveillance program on all US phone calls not out of concerns for privacy, but to cut costs while still accessing the data in other ways, ex-NSA Technical Director and whistleblower William Binney told Sputnik.

"They already get everything they want via the Upstream and other bulk collection programs", Binney, who retired in 2001 as the NSA’s technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting said.

The NSA has quietly shut down a system that analyzes logs of Americans’ domestic calls and texts, the New York Times reported last week, citing senior Republican congressional aide Luke Murry, who serves as national security adviser to House of Representatives minority leader Kevin McCarthy.

READ MORE: 'Go Ask Snowden': Huawei Chief Slams US Spying Habits in Ongoing Feud

The move ended a controversial program that has touched off disputes about privacy for more than a decade and a half.

However, the move was not a real concession in respect of any privacy concerns, Binney insisted. "No way", Binney stated, adding that the shutdown was driven purely by considerations of cost-cutting efficiency.

National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. (File) - Sputnik International
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"They can save money by getting rid of the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] directed unconstitutional bulk transfer of metadata to NSA at the request of the FBI", he said.

In what the report described as a raw assertion of executive power, President George W. Bush’s administration started the NSA phone surveillance program as part of its intense pursuit for al-Qaeda terror group (banned in Russia) conspirators following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States.

READ MORE: Project Raven: Using US Spies and Spying Tactics, UAE Snooped on Entire World

People are silhouetted as they pose with laptops in front of a screen projected with a Google logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014. - Sputnik International
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The program remained unknown to the US public for a more than 11 years until intelligence contractor and whistle-blower Edward Snowden disclosed its existence in 2013. William Binney designed and created many of the NSA’s collection systems and later exposed major aspects of the agency’s blanket surveillance programs as a whistle-blower.

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