A former National Security Agency intelligence analyst told MSNBC host Keith Olbermann Wednesday night that the secretive surveillance agency spied on journalists, including New York Times reporters, Square State’s Johne posts. NSA whistleblower Russell Tice, who told ABC News he was a source for a New York Times story on warrantless eavesdropping, told Olbermann he helped “filter” communications data to identify specific domestic targets for surveillance.
Here’s the clip from Wednesday’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann:
Here’s an excerpt from a transcript of the interview with Tice supplied to Square State:
OLBERMANN: I mention that you say specific groups were targeted. What group or groups can you tell us about?
TICE: Well, there’s sort of two avenues to look at this. What I just mentioned was sort of the low-tech dragnet look at this. The things that I specifically were involved with were more on the high-tech side. And try to envision, you know, the dragnets are out there, collecting all the fish and then ferreting out what they may. And my technical angle was to try to harpoon fish from an airplane kind of thing. So it’s two separate worlds.
But in the world that I was in, as to not harpoon the wrong people in some — in one of the operations that I was in, we looked at organizations just supposedly so that we would not target them. So that we knew where they were, so as not to have a problem with them.
Now, what I was finding out, though, is that the collection on those organizations was 24/7, and you know, 365 days a year, and it made no sense. And that’s — I started to investigate that. That’s about the time when they came after me, to fire me. But an organization that was collected on were U.S. news organizations and reporters and journalists.
OLBERMANN: To what purpose? I mean, is there a file somewhere full of every e-mail sent by all the reporters at the “New York Times”? Is there a recording somewhere of every conversation I had with my little nephew in upstate New York? Is it like that?
TICE: If it was involved in this specific avenue of collection, it would be everything. Yes. It would be everything.
OLBERMANN: Do you have a sense of why, as you discovered this? I mean, do you have a sense of what this was, if it was used, to what end?
TICE: I do not know. I do not know what was done with the collection. I’m sure the information — the collection was digitized and put on databases somewhere. I don’t know what was done with it from that point.
Hop on over to Square State to read the rest, including a teaser for more information to come on Olberman’s next show.