WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) — A former NSA employee said Tuesday there is
another ongoing top-secret surveillance program that might have violated
millions of Americans’ Constitutional rights.
Russell D. Tice told the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National
Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations he has concerns about
a “special access” electronic surveillance program that he characterized as
far more wide-ranging than the warrentless wiretapping recently exposed by
the New York Times but he is forbidden from discussing the program with
Tice said he believes it violates the Constitution’s protection against
unlawful search and seizures but has no way of sharing the information
without breaking classification laws. He is not even allowed to tell the
congressional intelligence committees – members or their staff – because
they lack high enough clearance.
Neither could he brief the inspector general of the NSA because that
office is not cleared to hear the information, he said.
I read this article this morning and had a sudden flash back to last week.
During the Senate Judiciary committee’s hearings into the NSA spying, Alberto
Gonzalez was always careful to respond along the lines of addressing the
warrantless taps as “this program I am addressing today”. When I heard that I
instantly thought to myself “well what other program is there”. Perhaps Mr.
Tice’s testimony has opened up another can of worms for the administration.
Thinking more about this, it does sound very Rovesque. Instantly try to
change the subject to another program that is comparable but may have some legal
authority or at the very least, a debatable authority. That would prevent
attention from going towards actually finding out the existence of the program
and reporters digging deep enough to uncover an actual program that intercepts
completely domestic calls.
This just brings us to the point that we need a full congressional inquiry
and start bringing people from the NSA in to testify. I bet there would be more
employees than Mr. Tice willing to talk if they were asked by Congress to do so.