January 5, 2006

IT'S A LAW, NOT CARTE BLANCHE:

NSA whistleblower asks to testify (Bill Gertz, January 5, 2006, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

A former National Security Agency official wants to tell Congress about electronic intelligence programs that he asserts were carried out illegally by the NSA and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Russ Tice, a whistleblower who was dismissed from the NSA last year, stated in letters to the House and Senate intelligence committees that he is prepared to testify about highly classified Special Access Programs, or SAPs, that were improperly carried out by both the NSA and the DIA. [...]

In his Dec. 16 letter, Mr. Tice wrote that his testimony would be given under the provisions of the 1998 Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act, which makes it legal for intelligence officials to disclose wrongdoing without being punished.

The activities involved the NSA director, the NSA deputies chief of staff for air and space operations and the secretary of defense, he stated.

"These ... acts were conducted via very highly sensitive intelligence programs and operations known as Special Access Programs," Mr. Tice said.


Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998 (CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE, July 27, 1998)
H.R. 3829 would establish a procedure for certain federal employees and contract employees to report wrongdoing regarding intelligence activities to the Congressional intelligence committees. The bill would amend the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 and the Inspector General Act of 1978 to require that employees who want to disclose such information to the Congress first report it to the appropriate inspector general. If the inspector general determined that the complaint or information appeared credible, the inspector general would report it to the agency head, who, in turn, would transmit it to the intelligence committees.

News of Surveillance Is Awkward for Agency (Scott Shane, 12/22/05, NY Times)
At a news conference at the White House on Monday, General Hayden also emphasized that the program's operations had "intense oversight" by the agency's general counsel and inspector general as well as the Justice Department. He said decisions on targets were made by agency employees and required two people, including a shift supervisor, to sign off on them, recording "what created the operational imperative."

An intelligence official who was authorized to speak only on the condition of anonymity said, "It's probably the most scrutinized program at the agency." The official emphasized that people whose communications were intercepted under the special program had to have a link to Al Qaeda or a related group, even if indirectly. The official also said that only their international communications could be intercepted.


Perhaps he just misundertands the law?

MORE:
NSA fires whistleblower (REBECCA CARR, May 05, 2005, Cox News Service)

The National Security Agency fired a high level intelligence official just days after he publicly urged Congress to pass stronger protections for federal whistleblowers facing retaliation.

Russ Tice, 43, who was once nominated for an award by the agency for his intelligence work on Iraq, was informed Tuesday that his security clearances had been permanently revoked and that he could no longer work at the secretive intelligence agency known for its eavesdropping and code-breaking capabilities. [...]

In June, 2003, the agency suspended his security clearances and ordered him to maintain the agency's vehicles by pumping gas and cleaning them. Last month, they ordered him to unload furniture at its warehouses. [...]

In April 2003, Tice sent an e-mail to the DIA agent handling his suspicions about a co-worker being a Chinese spy. He was prompted to do so by a news report about two FBI agents who were arrested for giving classified information to a Chinese double agent.

"At the time, I sent an e-mail to Mr. James (the person at DIA handling his complaint) questioning the competence of counterintelligence at FBI," Tice wrote in a document submitted to the Inspector General. In the e-mail, he mentioned that he suspected that he was the subject of electronic monitoring.

Shortly after sending the e-mail, an NSA security officer ordered him to report for "a psychological evaluation" even though he had just gone through one nine months earlier. Tice believes James called NSA to ask them "to go after him" on their behalf.

When Tice called Mr. James to confront him about calling the NSA security official, he told Tice that "there was reason to be concerned" about his suspicion about his former co-worker.

The Defense Department psychologist concluded that Tice suffered from psychotic paranoia, according to Tice.,/blockquote>

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 5, 2006 4:07 PM
Comments

I was just reading on another blog that Tice stalked the employee he suspected of being a spy and misusing his security clearance.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 5, 2006 4:37 PM

This is the credible source that Risen and the Times used to damage national security? A certified nut who is delusional? If this is the case, and Risen and the Times knowingly pursued this story ignoring his state of mental health, then the Justice Department needs to make their lives living hell.

Posted by: mike at January 5, 2006 4:46 PM

It's unfortunate, but whistle blowers tend to be nuts.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 5, 2006 5:08 PM

I don't know if the guy's nuts or not, but learning he was nominated for an award for his work on Iraq I suppose one thing I'd want to know is if this work was pre-Gulf War I or II before I make up my mind about his ability to discern reality.

Posted by: Dennis at January 5, 2006 5:34 PM
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