NSA Whistleblower reveals scary details of government's spying ability

Last night, news broke that the federal government has been tapping into the servers of nine major internet companies allowing them to access phone records, e-mail, web chats, photographs and documents. Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple are all reported to be a part of this program, code-named PRISM. TheBlaze has been covering the troubling surveillance state and reporting the information released by whistleblowers, and today Glenn welcomed crypto-mathematician and 36 year NSA employee William Binney to speak on the issue.

Transcript below:

GLENN: The whistleblowers we have talked to had guns pointed at their heads by our FBI for trying to tell you the truth. Thank goodness people are starting to listen. William Binney is one of them. He is ‑‑ you were with the NSA for 40 years. What was your title at the NSA?

BINNEY: Well, I rose up to be the Technical Director of the World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Group which was about 6,000 analysts which, you know, that was basically the intelligence reporting of NSA.

GLENN: Okay. So tell me what, how bad ‑‑ tell the American people who might be listening for the very first time ‑‑ because this is no longer theory now; this is out there ‑‑ tell us exactly the truth and what the White House and the members of congress don't want you to know.

[...]

BINNEY:  I see that the whole program started early in ‑‑ or late, late or mid to late October 2001, and it started by pulling in just a toll record or the phone records from various telephone companies of U.S. citizens making phone calls anywhere in the world or in the United States. So that total accumulation I estimated about 3 billion U.S.‑to‑U.S. phone calls every day. So that was being indexed. So that was building your communities of interest out of that so that who you talk to daily or ‑‑ and how you interact with them was being recorded and could be timelined so you could look at a timeline and see how people interact with others. This included the senators, House Representatives, everybody.

So then in 2003 with Mark Klein's disclosure of the NARIS devices on the fiberoptic lines of the ‑‑ inside the United States of America, that started to say, well, they are spreading around inside this country to somewhere between 10 and 20 sites the capacity to collect e‑mails and any other activity on the Internet and store it, okay? So that gave them that information. This is the intelligence community doing it. You know, you hear all the requests for the FBI to get the information, but that's only because the FBI needs it to get to go into court. And you can't use NSA‑collected data for court because it's not acquired by a warrant. But if the FBI has to request a warrant to get it, then they can take it into court to ‑‑

GLENN: Okay. So why did the president have to go and say, "I want William Rosen's stuff"? Because he intended on prosecuting? Or James Rosen?

BINNEY: I think it's ‑‑ excuse me, Glenn. But I think it's to intimidate reporters for the main part, but also there probably is somebody they're interested in prosecuting that's been, you know, talking to Jim Rosen or to the AP. There's more in there. Maybe they were interested in the stories that the AP was trying to develop. So by getting that kind of data, they could take it into court and show the relationships that would imply, you know, who was leaking information or who was ‑‑ or they couldn't ‑‑ they could assert that as an allegation for an indictment.

PAT: We're talking to NSA whistleblower William Binney. William, what do you say to people who claim, "Well, I don't ‑‑ I don't care if they're collecting information on me. I'm not doing anything wrong anyway. What are they going to do with it?" What do you say to those people who just don't understand what this is all about?

BINNEY: Well, you can only try to point out examples of things that go on that could very well be a part of this. Like, for example, all of the IRS targeting of the TEA Party. I've said early on several years ago that if you wanted to know who was involved in the TEA Party, this kind of activity would lay out their entire structure and the whole ‑‑ everybody who's involved in it, no matter where they are inside the country. And that information then could be passed to the IRS to target people.

PAT: What do you think ‑‑ what do you think the administration is doing with this information now? Are they doing anything nefarious with it? Are ‑‑ I mean, will they turn this against us?

BINNEY: I think they are already doing that.

PAT: Yeah.

BINNEY: But ‑‑ to a certain degree. But certainly that's been my major, my major concern is that that's how ‑‑ that's how totalitarian states begin. Once you have that kind of information about the population, you can now control your population. This has been historically true down through the ages of how these totalitarian states work. I mean, the KGB did it when Russia, the Gestapo did it in Germany and 00

PAT: Yeah, look how much further we can go than the KGB did with the technology available.

GLENN: This is way beyond. There wouldn't be a Jew alive on the planet today if they had this information.

BINNEY: They could never have dreamed of having this kind of capability.

GLENN: Okay. So tell me that ‑‑ because I've heard conflicting reports on this and I would like to get your opinion because I believe I know what is capable. They are saying that, two things: One, oh, no, they're just connecting the dots. They are not ‑‑ they don't have access to any conversations or anything." Then on the other side of that I've heard they can take every keystroke. So in other words, you start writing an e‑mail and you can delete, delete, delete, delete, and they'll have what you wrote and all of the deletes if they care to open those packages. True or false?

BINNEY: That's true. I mean, their statement about we don't have content is an outright lie. I mean, that's been going on ‑‑

PAT: Wow.

BINNEY: ‑‑ the NARIS devices from 2003 give them that data. Even the telcoms. If you looked at that report on Prism, they were requesting information like e‑mails, you know, videos, all kinds. That's all content.

GLENN: So Bill, they have ‑‑ I know this. We started getting on this because we had Michael Chertoff and John Ashcroft on on days when Bush was still in office and neither of them would go online. Neither of them would have a phone or and they just laughed at me. And they were like, if you knew what we could do, you wouldn't have it either. And we started talking about it at that point.

BINNEY: Yeah.

GLENN: And so it won't really stop because how do you dismantle something like this? First of all, for all of those members of the media that were talking about these things via conspiracy theory, what the hell did they build the Utah information vault for? How do you dismantle something like this?

I listened to Lindsey Graham give his testimony and I thought to myself, "Gee, Lindsey, what is it they have on you?"

BINNEY: Yeah.

GLENN: What is it they have on you because this doesn't make any ‑‑ what you're saying is totalitarian in its end.

BINNEY: I agree, Glenn. I mean, it's really disturbing what he's saying. I mean, I couldn't understand why he couldn't stand up for the Constitution.

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: So how do you end it? So how do you end it? Does it end?

BINNEY: I mean, it's going to take radical action by the people just to vote these idiots out of office.

GLENN: But they ‑‑ again, I go back to what George Bush said to me, you know, "my hands are ‑‑ my hands are tied pretty much, I have no real decisions." Who is going to shut down? It's really not about the elected officials. You know, one thing I thought of was I don't believe for a second John Roberts, because I've read the ‑‑ I've read the ruling. He was on the other side and didn't even have enough chance ‑‑ time to really even rout out all of the things that he was writing. He was on the other side, and he comes in for the ruling and he's blurry eyed and looked like he's been crying all night. I mean, honestly what gives me any kind of confidence that that man wasn't called up by somebody and says, "John, John, John. I don't think you're going to vote that way because of X, Y or Z." I mean ‑‑

PAT: If they are doing this to congress, they are certainly doing it to Supreme Court justices. I mean, that's a possibility, right?

GLENN: Right.

BINNEY: Well, they're all in it. I mean, it's not ‑‑ all their data's being collected. So that's certainly possible.

GLENN: Okay. Bill, I sure appreciate all of the heat that you have taken for so long, and you have been ‑‑ you have been vindicated through this story and I unfortunately ‑‑

BINNEY: Yes, unfortunately.

GLENN: ‑‑ unfortunately know that that is not something that you celebrate.

BINNEY: Yeah.

GLENN: But I thank you, and thank you for all of the help that you have given the country. And I'd like to have you on again maybe next week to talk about encouraging other whistleblowers, in anything that we can do, anything we can do as people to help encourage those who know, who might have a guilty conscience and just have been like, "I don't know what to do" and they feel trapped. How can we help them? So ‑‑

BINNEY: Yeah. Well, certainly there still are people like that because these exposures are coming out.

GLENN: Yeah. And it's amazing, they are coming out even at the time when the administration is doing their damnedest to intimidate and scare them.

BINNEY: Yeah, that's right.

GLENN: It gives me a little bit of hope.

BINNEY: Yeah.

GLENN: Thank you very much, Bill.

BINNEY: Okay, thanks.

GLENN: Appreciate it. One of the chief guys from the NSA, William Binney, and we will talk to him again.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

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On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at kryan@blazemedia.com

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.