An expert on electronic eavesdropping, Drake sacrificed his career to blow the whistle on perceived wrongdoings within the NSA. He was charged under the Espionage Act, though the charges were dropped only last year.
He told RT that in America’s ‘soft tyranny’, everyone is subject or suspect in terms of surveillance.
RT: What was the potential harm of the program that you challenged while working with the NSA?
Thomas Drake: There was a very large flagship program called Trailblazer that was designed to catapult the NSA into the twenty first century to deal with the vast amounts of data generated by the digital age. Given the massive fraud and abuse that the NSA had created with the Trailblazer program, as well as the super secret surveillance program, the NSA completely violated the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment. In particular, the stature called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was the first commandment at the NSA: you did violate Americans’ privacy without a warning, and if you did – there is a criminal penalty for doing so. And I found this out to my horror and shock, that shortly after 9/11, the NSA entered a secret agreement with the White House in which the NSA would become the executive agent for this secret surveillance program. On the front end, it was designed to deal with a terrorist threat – and that was quite understandable.
But what it did – it actually turned the US into a collection platform.Vast rims of data were increasingly being collected through other entities and saved for analysis.
Check out the rest of the interview HERE.