National Security Agency
(NSA) veterans Bill Binney, Russ Tice
and Kirk Wiebe spoke at a Friday news conference at the National Press Club
, in Washington, D.C., with Tice declaring that the spy agency monitored Barack Obama's telephone conversations-and those of his wife-in 2004, apparently as a result of Obama's run for the U.S. Senate
and emergence as a major figure in the Democratic Party.
A major exception was NBC News, which posted a clip from the press conference and an item noting that "Former NSA analyst Russ Tice says that, during his tenure, the NSA had a program that spied on phone and email messages of Congress, the Supreme Court, reporters, military and an up-and-coming politician named Barack Obama.
These are sensational charges.
Jeff Mason of Reuters interviewed Tice about Obama's proposed "reforms" of the agency, but didn't include any comments on the agency's alleged surveillance of Obama.
, who says he
for president even though he
had been a conservative Republican, told Russia Today (RT) television that "...a high-level person at NSA
told me this was being directed from the vice president's office.
That would be Vice-President Dick Cheney.
I don't know that for sure, but that's what I was told from a very senior person at NSA
also told the Moscow-funded propaganda channel that Obama
may somehow be "controlled" as President as a result of its surveillance of him.
cannot be dismissed completely as a nut by the Left, since he
was one of the sources used in The New York Times' reporting in December 2005 on domestic surveillance activity.
The media have treated him as credible in the past.
affiliations reportedly include his
roles as a former intelligence analyst for the U.S. Air Force
, Office of Naval Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency
, and the National Security Agency
Jesselyn Radack, an associate of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, has defended Tice as a "whistleblower," and Tice is featured on the site of the National Whistleblowers Center.
said at the January 17 National Press Club news conference that he
had "in my hand," during his
work for the NSA
, the telephone numbers for Barack Obama and his
wife, but that the documents were destroyed.
"I had numerous phone numbers.
I assume his
wife's number was there as well," he
seemed unfamiliar with Davis.
ridiculed the idea that there were any legitimate grounds on which to monitor or investigate Obama
At the same time, he
said the agency may have been seeking something they could "use against him in the future.
wasn't clear as to whether or not he
meant they were seeking something specific.
Is there something Obama
If the interest was communism, Tice
said, then why were so many other people, including admirals, members of congress, and Supreme Court justices, under surveillance?
Of course, we have to take his word that all of these people were under surveillance, because he said the documentation for all of this was destroyed when he worked for the NSA.
Tice, an analyst, may not have been in a high enough position to know or understand this.
speculation about then-Vice President Cheney ordering the surveillance is just that-speculation.
And it may stem from his
announced preference for Obama
ridicules the idea of the NSA monitoring "commies" on Capitol Hill.