August 28, 2012
A new mini documentary by Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker and journalist Laura Poitras blows the lid off the US government’s secretive domestic spy program – a system currently storing all electronic communications and analyzing it in real time, thereby building dossiers on virtually every American.
Poitras, who says she is on the government’s “watch-list” after a documentary she made criticized the US occupation of Iraq, has personally been detained and questioned about 40 times at different airports.
“The Program” documentary reveals the Stellar Wind program’s highly classified nature, undoubtedly due to its blatant violation of individual privacy rights.
In Poitras’ film, William Binney details his work in developing a program meant to intercept and monitor Soviet communications. Binney has direct insider knowledge, having worked for the NSA for a staggering 32 years as former technical director.
Binney says the domestic spy program – code-named Stellar Wind, or simply “The Program” as known to insiders – gathers data from individuals, storing it in massive databases and allowing customized profiles for each person to be queried à la search engine-style. He says Stellar Wind’s sole purpose is to monitor what everyone is doing.
Unwittingly, Binney says he built the back-end for a program that has since been redirected towards the American people, tracking and logging every citizen’s phone calls, texts, emails, Google searches, and even social network history.
In a short video interview, Binney briefly summarized the NSA’s spy program:
“Domestically, they’re pulling together all the data about virtually every U.S. citizen in the country and assembling that information, building communities that you have relationships with, and knowledge about you; what your activities are; what you’re doing. So the government is accumulating that kind of information about every individual person and it’s a very dangerous process.”
The central hub for all recorded activities is said to be a data storage facility in Bluffdale, Utah with, reportedly, the capacity to store 100 years worth of data.
In addition, Binney says his position as chair of the Technical Advisory Panel, the NSA’s foreign relations council, allowed him to oversee the transfer of eavesdropping technology into the hands of Israeli intelligence, who he suspects then passed the technology on to Israeli companies – manifesting itself in the form of the Israeli company Narus – thus, inadvertently granting the Israeli government unlimited access to critical military, economic and diplomatic information.
In June, the NSA refused to provide details on its highly secret domestic spy apparatus, arguing that to do so would compromise the privacy of Americans.
Judging by what we’ve recently witnessed with the unlawful detainment of veteran Brandon Raub and numerous others, it is safe to assume that information gathered is being stored for use as opportunistic leverage to crush dissenting voices and go after citizens choosing to exercise constitutional rights.