NSA whistleblower asks to testify
A former National Security Agency official wants to tell Congress about electronic intelligence programs that he asserts were carried out illegally by the NSA and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Russ Tice, a whistleblower who was dismissed from the NSA last year, stated in letters to the House and Senate intelligence committees that he is prepared to testify about highly classified Special Access Programs, or SAPs, that were improperly carried out by both the NSA and the DIA.
"I intend to report to Congress probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts conducted while I was an intelligence officer with the National Security Agency and with the Defense Intelligence Agency," Mr. Tice stated in the Dec. 16 letters, copies of which were obtained by The Washington Times.
The letters were sent the same day that the New
York Times revealed that the NSA was engaged in a clandestine eavesdropping
program that bypassed the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
(FISA) court. The FISA court issues orders for targeted electronic and
other surveillance by the government.
Mr. Bush said during a visit to Brooke Army Medical
Center in San Antonio that al Qaeda is "making phone calls, [and]
it makes sense to find out why."
The Justice Department has said the program is legal under presidential powers authorized by Congress in 2001.
Mr. Tice said yesterday that he was not part of
the intercept program.
The activities involved the NSA director, the NSA deputies chief of staff for air and space operations and the secretary of defense, he stated.
"These ... acts were conducted via very highly
sensitive intelligence programs and operations known as Special Access
Programs," Mr. Tice said.
Spokesmen for the NSA and the Senate intelligence
committee declined to comment. Spokesmen for the House intelligence
committee and the DIA said they were aware of Mr. Tice's letters, but
had not seen formal copies of them
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