The New York Times has a short documentary video (which they won’t allow people to embed, so you must follow the link) directed by Laura Poitras about William Binney, the former NSA analyst and mathematician-turned whistleblower.
Binney described details about Stellar Wind, the N.S.A.’s top-secret domestic spying program begun after 9/11, which was so controversial that it nearly caused top Justice Department officials to resign in protest, in 2004.
The video is well worth watching, as it vividly reiterates what Binney has been coming out and saying, that the Bush administration, in its post-9/11 surveillance activities, committed “a direct violation of the constitutional rights of everybody in the country,” and that the NSA is currently collecting information on “virtually every US citizen.” Binney has also condemned the Obama administration: “…the real problem I see is that the [Obama] DoJ is covering up for all the crimes that this administration and the previous administration has been committing against every one in the public.”
Poitras has her own experiences with intrusive surveillance practices of the US government.
The United States apparently placed me on a“watch-list” in 2006 after I completed a film about the Iraq war. I have been detained at the border more than 40 times. Once, in 2011, when I was stopped at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and asserted my First Amendment right not to answer questions about my work, the border agent replied, “If you don’t answer our questions, we’ll find our answers on your electronics.”’ As a filmmaker and journalist entrusted to protect the people who share information with me, it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to work in the United States. Although I take every effort to secure my material, I know the N.S.A. has technical abilities that are nearly impossible to defend against if you are targeted.
The 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which oversees the N.S.A. activities, are up for renewal in December. Two members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado, both Democrats, are trying to revise the amendments to insure greater privacy protections. They have been warning about “secret interpretations” of laws and backdoor “loopholes” that allow the government to collect our private communications. Thirteen senators havesigned a letter expressing concern about a “loophole” in the law that permits the collection of United States data. The A.C.L.U. and other groups have also challenged the constitutionality of the law, and the Supreme Court will hear arguments in that case on Oct. 29.