[Note: A news conference organized by the Institute for Public Accuracy and ExposeFacts.org on surveillance that had been scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 17 with NSA whistleblowers William Binney J. Kirk Wiebe has been cancelled on account of anticipated weather conditions.]
Reuters is reporting today: “President Barack Obama is set to sign an executive order on Friday aimed at encouraging companies to share more information about cybersecurity threats with the government and each other, a response to attacks like that on Sony Entertainment. … Obama will sign the order at a day-long conference on cybersecurity at Stanford University in the heart of Silicon Valley.”
ExposeFacts.org will be holding a news conference at the National Press Club on Tuesday featuring two prominent National Security Agency whistleblowers — William Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe — who will discuss the administration’s record on surveillance and cyber issues.
Details on the news conference:
10:00 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17
Murrow Room, National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
Attorney General Eric Holder will be speaking at the National Press Club later that day.
William Binney is a former high-level National Security Agency intelligence official who, after his 2001 retirement after 30 years, blew the whistle on NSA surveillance programs. His outspoken criticism of the NSA during the George W. Bush administration made him the subject of FBI investigations that included a raid on his home in 2007. Even before Edward Snowden’s NSA whistleblowing, Binney publicly revealed that NSA had access to telecommunications companies’ domestic and international billing records, and that since 9/11 the agency has intercepted some 15 to 20 trillion communications. The Snowden disclosures confirmed many of the surveillance dangers Binney — without the benefit of documents — had been warning about under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Binney has been singled out for praise by Snowden, who told the Wall Street Journal: “I have tremendous respect for Binney, who did everything he could according to the rules. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for highlighting how the Intelligence Community punishes reporting abuses within the system.”
J. Kirk Wiebe is a retired National Security Agency whistleblower who worked at the agency for 36 years. Wiebe’s colleague William Binney developed the ThinThread information processing system that, arguably, could have detected and prevented the 9/11 terrorist attacks. NSA officials, though, ignored the program in favor of Trailblazer, a program that ended in total failure with costs of billions of dollars. Wiebe and Binney blew the whistle internally on Trailblazer, but to no avail. Post 9/11, the NSA used ThinThread to illegally spy on U.S. citizens’ communications. Unable to stay at NSA any longer in good conscience, Wiebe retired in October 2001. Since retiring, Wiebe andBinney made several key public disclosures regarding NSA’s massive surveillance program.
Binney and Wiebe are on the ExposeFacts.org advisory board. ExposeFacts.org is a project of the Institute for Public Accuracy.