By Russ Tice
former intelligence analyst and operations officer, NSA.
Of the information about NSA’s illegal and unconstitutional domestic spying on U.S. citizens that James Risen was informed of by his sources, he only published a fraction. Technical details, such as the type of platforms used, in NSA’s criminal acts were withheld by Mr. Risen even when he was urged to print much more of the details involved.
When he was told that he himself was a target of NSA’s illegal spying, he did not want to believe the government would go that far against a member of the press. When he was cautioned that his traditional means of communications were compromised and covert measures of security were needed, he believed the concern was overly protective and silly. When it was pointed out to him that face-to-face meetings in public venues were crawling with FBI agents determined to listen in, he was dismissive. When he was informed that NSA’s domestic spying was en masse and included word-for-word content of everyday citizens, he struggled to accept this. When it appeared that he had only one source of information for specifics of NSA’s criminality, he chose to omit the information from his publications. It has been a sharp learning curve for Jim Risen, but by having numerous grand juries and two administrations relentlessly hounding him, he has learned how deeply the government’s malevolence descends. But there was always one steadfast assertion he wound not compromise, Jim Risen assured his sources, from the very start of their first encounter, that he would never divulge their identities nor what information they provided him with.
Today he stands on the brink of being incarcerated for his steadfastness, by a government and its intelligence community that is determined to ensure that their crimes against the American people are not uncovered. In an environment were the mainstream media has been compromised by large corporate interests in conjunction with government contracts and regulatory favor, Jim Risen has stood above them all, even his own task masters, to exemplify the true roll that the Fourth Estate was designed to perform by our forefathers. I stand in salute to you Jim, a true “American Hero’ and patriot.