08:21 GMT +318 December 2017
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    US President Donald Trump speaks during the Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, US, January 22, 2017.

    NSA Whistleblower: Not Even US President is Safe From The Surveillance State

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    After US President Donald Trump’s unprecedented accusation that former President Barack Obama tapped the former’s phones, questions surround the motivations behind surveillance and the reach of US intelligence agencies.

    Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear speaks with NSA whistleblower William Binney about how Trump’s allegations not only point to the nearly-unlimited powers of the US surveillance state, but also indicate a desperate ploy to help Democrats maintain power after losing the presidency.

    ​This past week Trump tweeted: "Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!" and, "Is it legal for a sitting President to be 'wire tapping' a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!" 

    Following Trump’s tweet, FBI Director James Comey asked the US Justice Department to publicly refute the President’s claims.

    Binney pointed out that while Trump accusations seem startling, such actions are not altogether new in American politics, noting that Richard Nixon also used the NSA, FBI, and the CIA during the Watergate scandal.

    He also brought up how clandestine surveillance programs, like the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO), was used to spy on the anti-war movement of the 1960’s and surveilled activists like Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Black Panther Party. 

    Loud & Clear Host Brian Becker suggested that, if true, Obama may have ordered the wiretaps as a reaction to Trump’s willingness to improve relations with Russia, positing that Washington has been antagonistic toward Moscow, even decades after the Cold War. 

    "They’re trying to start a new Cold War." Binney said, "Why? Because for the military, industrial, intelligence and governmental complex that’s involved here that means trillions of dollars in spending from taxpayers. It means a lot more going into their budgets, a lot more programming and empire building in government. So I think we have a bunch of people in Congress and various places who cannot change."

    Binney observed, "The Democrats are so afraid that [Trump is] going to succeed in everything he’s doing, far better than anyone has to date, and that would make them look really bad with all the policies they’ve had in place for the last eight years. They’re also afraid of losing more seats around the country in state houses and the Senate, and having Trump succeed would make that a very likely reality, so that’s what they want to avoid."

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    Tags:
    Surveillance, Wiretapping, Justice Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA), Barack Obama, Donald Trump, United States
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