NSA Whistleblower Binney: NSA Recording 80% of U.S. Phone Calls

Photo of William Benney: AP Images

NSA whistleblower William Binney (shown) has made the startling claim that the NSA is recording the audio of at least 80 percent of Americans’ telephone calls. The NSA acknowledged in 2013, after repeated and explicit denials, that it was recording telephone metadata, but it still denies it is keeping the audio of any American’s phone calls.

“At least 80% of fibre-optic cables globally go via the US,” Binney told the London Guardian July 10. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80% of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”

Photo of William Benney: AP Images
Photo of William Benney: AP Images

William Binney can perhaps be called the “legal Edward Snowden,” as the 32-year veteran of the NSA did not take NSA documents or reveal classified information in his whistleblowing. And while some have criticized NSA whistleblower Snowden for not following established legal channels, Binney’s character remains unimpeached. Binney has particular credibility because he was the author of the software used to conduct the domestic surveillance, which he had created to spy on foreign governments and terrorist threats. Binney explained in a 2012 documentary short film that:

After 9/11 they took one of the programs I had done – the back end of it – and started to use it to spy on everybody in this country. That was a program they created called STELLAR WIND. That was separate and compartmented from the regular activity that was ongoing because it was doing domestic spying.

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