Binney has argued, along with many in the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of former US Intelligence Community professionals, that DNC emails published by WikiLeaks were leaked by someone inside the DNC. This blows up a major chapter in the "RussiaGate" narrative, which holds that Russians hacked the emails and supplied them to WikiLeaks — a claim which has never been indisputably proven.
CNN referred to the Pennsylvania native as a "DNC hack conspiracy theorist," parroting a similar mischaracterization proffered by Mother Jones. Lawfare, The Hill and NBC more accurately described Binney as a former US intelligence professional turned whistleblower and critic.
— Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) November 8, 2017
The slander and fake news raises an important question: Who Is Bill Binney?
William Edward Binney is a 30-year veteran of the National Security Agency who resigned from his position there on October 31, 2001, in frustration and disgust at malpractice that he believed cost American lives.
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) November 8, 2017
The reason was straightforward: Binney had worked on a wiretapping and data analysis program that he said could have prevented the September 11, 2001, terror attacks against the US, but was halted by the agency just weeks before the attack. Binney and two colleagues, J. Kirk Wiebe and Edward Loomis, later filed a complaint with the Pentagon's Office of Inspector General over NSA's fateful decision to continue a program dubbed "Trailblazer" over the program Binney had worked on, "ThinThread."
ThinThread was less intrusive and more effective than Trailblazer, Binney contended, and, crucially, it was a working prototype at the time it was cancelled, while Trailblazer was only a concept on paper. The functioning ThinThread could have even stopped 9/11, Binney told Sputnik Radio's Loud & Clear last year.
Binney and his colleagues attempted to resolve their differences with NSA leadership and draw attention to what they characterized as malpractice by notifying the Department of Defense, the standard procedure for bringing serious grievances to light. They were stifled. It was the example of Binney and his treatment that ultimately propelled NSA contractor Edward Snowden to resort to extra-legal channels when to blow the whistle of the US government's massive and illegal surveillance programs, because Snowden had seen that following regular channels within the government would lead nowhere.
Binney has become increasingly critical of surveillance against US citizens, which he told The Nation in 2013 has become "better than anything [the] Gestapo or SS ever had." And Binney should know: he "created many of the collection systems still in use" at the NSA and told VIPS "that NSA's ‘cast-iron' coverage… would have almost certainly yielded a record of transfer from Russia to Wikileaks."
Indeed, the man who is being smeared today has been used as a credible source for information about NSA programs and government surveillance for more than a decade. Binney was likely a key source for a bombshell New York Times article published in December 2005 revealing that President George W. Bush authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on American citizens and others in the US without the court approval normally required for such spy operations. The government was "keeping all these crimes in secret," Binney told Sputnik Radio's Loud & Clear in 2016.
After being interviewed by the FBI on three occasions in spring 2007, Binney was cleared of wrongdoing for potential contributions to the NYT piece. In June 2007, a dozen FBI agents stormed his house with assault rifles, pointed a gun at his head while he was taking a shower and confiscated his computers, documents and other records. The story was told in the 2015 documentary "A Good American," which has become a regular feature on online streaming sites like Netflix, where it was available to watch as recently as last month.
PBS, a TV channel funded by the US federal government, broadcast a "Frontline" segment on Binney in 2013 titled: "United States of Secrets."
— Elizabeth Lea Vos (@ElizabethleaVos) November 8, 2017
While 9/11 is always used to justify egregious domestic espionage programs, the fact of that attack doesn't make the illegal legal. Those programs were illegal the day the intelligence community started them, and they are in violation of the constitution today. Not only is the Fourth Amendment breached — "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized" — NSA surveillance violates the first, fifth and sixth amendments, too, Binney told Sputnik News.
Binney noted the First Amendment says each person has the right to free association. "It doesn't say you have the right to free association as long as NSA or the rest of the government knows about it."
— TruthLeaks (@GeorgWebb) November 7, 2017