socialuprooting:

US data whistleblower: ‘It’s a violation of everybody’s constitutional rights’

Bill Binney believes he helped create a monster.

Sitting in the innocuous surroundings of an Olive Garden in the Baltimore suburbs, the former senior National Security Agency (NSA) official even believes he owes the whole American people an apology.

Binney, a tall, professorial man in his late 60s, led the development of a secret software code he now believes is illegally collecting huge amounts of information on his fellow citizens. For the staunch Republican, who worked for 32 years at the NSA, it is a civil liberties nightmare come true.

So Binney has started speaking out as an NSA whistleblower – an act that has earned him an armed FBI raid on his home. “What’s happening is a violation of the constitutional rights of everybody in the country. That’s pretty straightforward. I could not be associated with it,” he told the Guardian.

Binney, a career NSA employee who first volunteered for the army in the mid-1960s, has now become a high-profile thorn in the side of NSA chiefs when they deny the programme’s existence.

At a hacking conference this summer in Las Vegas, NSA director General Keith Alexander said the NSA “absolutely” did not keep files on Americans.

“Anyone who would tell you that we’re keeping files or dossiers on the American people knows that’s not true,” Alexander told an audience of computer and security experts. But Binney himself was at the same conference and publicly accused Alexander of playing a “word game”.

“Once the software takes in data, it will build profiles on everyone in that data,” he told a convention panel there.

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