School officials in Huntsville, Alabama, say a phone call from the National Security Agency led them to create a secret surveillance program to monitor their students’ social media accounts.
According to Superintendent and former U.S. Army colonel Casey Wardynski, the program began 18 months ago after the NSA alerted Al Lankford, the school’s security officer, to a “violent threat” made by a student on Facebook.
Wardynski says school officials immediately searched the student’s vehicle and found a “very good size knife,” leading to the student’s expulsion.
The NSA denied any involvement with the situation whatsoever when contacted by AL.com, the news group that obtained documents relating to the school’s “SAFe,” or Students Against Fear, monitoring program.
“The National Security Agency has no record that it passed any information to the Huntsville school district, and the description of what supposedly occurred is inconsistent with NSA’s practices,” said NSA Public Affairs Specialist Vanee Vines.
Vines argued that the action would be illegal as the NSA’s alleged primary mission is to focus on foreign threats. Wardynski said that the NSA told him that the student was in a group chat with an individual from Yemen when the threat was made, making the surveillance legal.
“There was a foreign connection,” said Wardynski.
Since then, the school district has expelled at least three students for posting photos with firearms on their Facebook pages according to SAFe documents.
Despite the program’s inception coming from an unconstitutional action, Wardynski hailed SAFe for its success in breaking up the “Wolfpack,” a group of troubled students who were later expelled and sent to a boot camp.
“People are very good about ‘If you see something, say something,'” Wardynski said.
When asked, Wardynski denied that the program was being used to search for posts related to drugs, sex and alcohol, but only “gangs, threats of violence and threats of suicide.”
In one case, an 18-year-old student was expelled for posing with a handgun off of school grounds despite handgun ownership being legal at 18 in Alabama.
While the NSA continues to deny the allegations, if true, the situation represents a new criminal low for the agency.
Despite their claims of only monitoring foreign targets, NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden have shown the agency to be primarily focused on the American public and economic espionage.
Earlier this month, Alex Jones interviewed 36-year NSA veteran and whistleblower William Binney, who revealed the NSA’s plan to implement total information awareness within the United States.