Sunday, 19 October 2008

NSA Wiretapped U.S. Soldiers' Intimate Conversations

Written by  Thomas R. Eddlem

Soldier PhoneABC's Nightline has broadcast a shocking interview with two former NSA clerks who were charged with recording and transcribing even intimate telephone conversations between U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq and their wives back at home.

This compelling video describes how NSA clerks were instructed to listen to all conversations between U.S. soldiers and their sweethearts back home. And when the conversation took an intimate tone, the prurient NSA clerks would pass the audio recording around the office to laugh at.

The Nightline video necessitates a different view of President Bush's 2006 explanation of why the NSA is tapping international phone calls without the constitutionally required court warrant:

The NSA program is one that listens to a few numbers, called from the outside of the United States and of known al Qaeda or affiliate people. In other words, the enemy is calling somebody and we want to know who they're calling and why.

Either President Bush has a peculiar idea of who "the enemy" is, or his word is precisely as trustworthy as his December 10, 2005 promise that "law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone or search his property." Six days later, the New York Times published a major story that brought to light the then-secret NSA warrantless electronic surveillence program authorized by Bush. "Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants originally required for domestic spying," the Times reported, based on admissions of government officials.

And now two whistle-blowers within the NSA have told ABC that this eavesdropping extends to U.S. soldiers in Iraq having intimate coversations with their wives. To view the Nightline story, click here.

— AP Images