Two military intercept officers who worked at a National Security Agency center in Georgia told ABC News they eavesdropped on the phone conversations of hundreds of U.S. citizens overseas. The officers told how operators would pass around time codes of the calls journalists, soldiers and aid workers made to friends and family back home.
The NSA has claimed it does not routinely spy on Americans except for suspected terrorists.
The Army Reserve linguist noted that the program did help find evidence related to terrorist plots against the United States, but she told ABC News the intercepts were so broad that it made it more difficult to find the calls that needed monitoring. The Navy linguist said the calls picked up phone sex and other obviously personal conversations.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W Va., who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said he will investigate the claims made in the ABC News Report. The conduct described in the news report would likely violate the NSA rules that require high level approval for each person targeted for surveillance.
“We hope the Senate will take this matter very seriously,” said Ed Black, President & CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association. “The executive branch has taken on unprecedented new powers to spy on Americans, asking us to trust them that this is needed to catch terrorists.
“The allegations in this news report, if true, would add to the evidence that this trust is being misused. It is one more piece of the iceberg of surveillance abuse that is coming to light. Unfortunately, the extent of likely abuse may never be known because of legislation providing blanket retroactive immunity for major carriers who may have broken federal communications law by turning over records on its customers to the government without warrants. The scope and boundaries of the extensive electronic phone and computer surveillance undertaken by this administration remain unknown,” Black said.
These recent developments reinforce the need to reverse the immunity cover-up and to get the whole truth out with regard to abuse.