It didn't take twenty four hours after the end of the Bush presidency for the latest scandal to come out---hopefully, it will not go down the memory hole of those eager to "look forward."
Despite all the assurances of the Bush administration that their wiretapping activities were only to protect Americans from terrorists and that only concerned foreign targets, I'm sure you will share my surprise to find out that that was not true. To be clear, it was not even close to being true.
Whistleblower Russell Tice, who back in 2006 had exposed the NSA program illegalities is back with Keith Olbermann to go even further than his earlier allegations, things he was perhaps afraid to say while Bush was still in office considering the smear job they did on him the first time around: The NSA, under the direction of George Bush, was monitoring ALL Americans' communications, specifically targeting journalists and news organizations.
TICE: [W]hat was done was a sort of an ability to look at the meta data, the signaling data for communications, and ferret that information to determine what communications would ultimately be collected. Basically, filtering out sort of like sweeping everything with that meta data, and then cutting down ultimately what you are going to look at and what is going to be collected, and in the long run have an analyst look at, you know, needles in a haystack for what might be of interest.
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.
Hmmm....lying to the American people and flouting the laws of the land. Whodathunk? Tice will be on Countdown again on Thursday to discuss this further.
Transcripts below the fold