WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Last week, the FISC issued its first ruling since the 2015 USA Freedom Act was passed, authorizing the NSA to carry out more surveillance activities. However, no details on the subject or nature of the NSA activities or the communications company involved were revealed to the US public.
William Binney is a cryptanalyst and mathematician, and has served for 30 years as a senior analyst at the NSA, where he exposed major aspects of the agency’s blanket surveillance programs.
"From what I understand, the surveillance continues mostly under Executive Order (EO) 12333 and the Upstream program which neither the courts nor Congress have oversight."
The main domestic program launched after the 2001 USA Patriot Act and passed by Congress already had developed "tap points" that allowed the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor or record most communications carried out by AT&T system at least from 2004, Binney recalled.
"The main program doing the domestic collection remains the Fairview program, which is AT&T cooperation allowing taps directly on the fibers to collect all the data on those lines… But, of course, it has grown since then."
Additional comprehensive programs tapped into other communications system both within the United States and throughout the world, Binney added.
"The Upstream program does not go into the unilateral taps on the fiber line in the United States and around the world which also have no oversight."
Anther NSA system called Stormbrew had tap points of its own into the Verizon system across the United States, Binney pointed out.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and its Court of Appeals, which were set up maintain constitutional and legal oversight on US domestic intelligence operations, had any significant effect in restraining them, Binney observed.
"In short, the government is lying to everyone, even the courts, which means that this is all for public show to document the idea that they are doing the right thing. If you believe that, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you."
The FISC oversees requests for surveillance warrants against suspected foreign spies inside the United States by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.