- NSA spied on its own employees, other U.S. intelligence
personnel, and their journalist and congressional contacts. WMR has learned
that the National Security Agency (NSA), on the orders of the Bush administration,
eavesdropped on the private conversations and e-mail of its own employees,
employees of other U.S. intelligence agencies -- including the CIA and
DIA -- and their contacts in the media, Congress, and oversight agencies
- The journalist surveillance program, code named "Firstfruits,"
was part of a Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) program that was maintained
at least until October 2004 and was authorized by then-DCI Porter Goss.
Firstfruits was authorized as part of a DCI "Countering Denial and
Deception" program responsible to an entity known as the Foreign Denial
and Deception Committee (FDDC). Since the intelligence community's reorganization,
the DCI has been replaced by the Director of National Intelligence headed
by John Negroponte and his deputy, former NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden.
- Firstfruits was a database that contained both the articles
and the transcripts of telephone and other communications of particular
Washington journalists known to report on sensitive U.S. intelligence activities,
particularly those involving NSA. According to NSA sources, the targeted
journalists included author James Bamford, the New York Times' James Risen,
the Washington Post's Vernon Loeb, the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh, the
Washington Times' Bill Gertz, UPI's John C. K. Daly, and this editor [Wayne
Madsen], who has written about NSA for The Village Voice, CAQ, Intelligence
Online, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).
- In addition, beginning in 2001 but before the 9-11 attacks,
NSA began to target anyone in the U.S. intelligence community who was deemed
a "disgruntled employee." According to NSA sources, this surveillance
was a violation of United States Signals Intelligence Directive (USSID)
18 and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. The surveillance
of U.S. intelligence personnel by other intelligence personnel in the United
States and abroad was conducted without any warrants from the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court. The targeted U.S. intelligence agency personnel included
those who made contact with members of the media, including the journalists
targeted by Firstfruits, as well as members of Congress, Inspectors General,
and other oversight agencies. Those discovered to have spoken to journalists
and oversight personnel were subjected to sudden clearance revocation and
termination as "security risks."
- In 2001, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
rejected a number of FISA wiretap applications from Michael Resnick, the
FBI supervisor in charge of counter-terrorism surveillance. The court said
that some 75 warrant requests from the FBI were erroneous and that the
FBI, under Louis Freeh and Robert Mueller, had misled the court and misused
the FISA law on dozens of occasions. In a May 17, 2002 opinion, the presiding
FISA Judge, Royce C. Lamberth (a Texan appointed by Ronald Reagan), barred
Resnick from ever appearing before the court again. The ruling, released
by Lamberth's successor, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelley, stated in extremely
strong terms, "In virtually every instance, the government's misstatements
and omissions in FISA applications and violations of the Court's orders
involved information sharing and unauthorized disseminations to criminal
investigators and prosecutors . . . How these misrepresentations occurred
remains unexplained to the court."
- After the Justice Department appealed the FISC decision,
the FISA Review court met for the first time in its history. The three-member
review court, composed of Ralph Guy of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals,
Edward Leavy of the 9th Circuit, and Laurence Silberman [of the Robb-Silberman
Commission on 911 "intelligence failures"] of the D.C. Circuit,
overturned the FISC decision on the Bush administration's wiretap requests.
- Based on recent disclosures that the Bush administration
has been using the NSA to conduct illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens,
it is now becoming apparent what vexed the FISC to the point that it rejected,
in an unprecedented manner, numerous wiretap requests and sanctioned Resnick.