Even Powerful Senator Can’t Get U.S. Intelligence Agencies to Tell Him Whether They’re Spying On Him …

A powerful Senator – a member of the Armed Services and Judiciary Committees, the Subcommittee on Defense of the Appropriations Committee, and Formerly on the Select Committee On Intelligence (Lindsey Graham) – asked the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence:

  • If the government was spying on him
  • Whether his identity had been “unmasked”
  • And whether this information could be used for blackmail by politicians who didn’t like him

The counsel for the intelligence agency refused to respond:

What should we make of that?

Washington's Blog asked the highest-level NSA whistleblower of all time - Bill Binney* - what he thought.

Binney responded:

They won't tell him because his communications with foreigners and domestically [background] are being collected and probably targeted. That's why they don't ever want to tell senators or representatives or the president or federal judges etc. their communications are collected and scanned.


Further, they won’t tell them how many US citizens are in their databases … again because it’s about 280 million by my estimates.


All of these acts are crimes against the constitution and laws of the US which should put them in jail. (see attached)


These letters are a direct violation of the intelligence acts of 1947 and 1978. But, who cares, the intelligence community runs the US government anyway.

The two letters Binney sent to us are attached at the end of this post. The first letter – to NSA whistleblower Russel Tice – says that he can’t talk to anyone in Congress about what’s really going on.

The second letter – to Senators Wyden and Udall, both on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – says that the NSA can’t reveal how many Americans it has spied on because that would “likely impede NSA’s mission” and “would itself violate the privacy of US persons.”  

Binney continued:

[The NSA’s letter to Russ Tice] shows the arrogance of the intelligence community that they can, in writing, say that the congress is not cleared to know about intelligence programs.


By law, they are required to keep the Congress informed of all their programs – for Covert programs that requirement is to the Gang of 8.

The Washington Times explained in 2006:

Renee Seymour, director of NSA special access programs stated in a Jan. 9 letter to Russ Tice that he should not testify about secret electronic intelligence programs because members and staff of the House and Senate intelligence committees do not have the proper security clearances for the secret intelligence.

(And see this.)

Binney previously pointed out how absurd this is:

Russ Tice … was prepared to testify to Congress to this, too, and so NSA sent him a letter saying, we agree that you have a right to go to Congress to testify, but we have to advise you that the intelligence committees that you want to testify to are not cleared for the programs you want to speak about. Now, that fundamentally is an open admission … by NSA that they are violating the intelligence acts of 1947 and 1978, which require NSA and all other intelligence agencies to notify Congress of all the programs that they’re running so they can have effective oversight, which they’ve never had anyway.

In case you think this is a one-off, remember that the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said in 2007:

Do you think that because I’m Chairman of the Intelligence Committee that I just say I want it, and they [the intelligence agencies] give it to me? They control it. All of it. ALL of it. ALL THE TIME. I only get – and my committee only gets – what they WANT to give me.

Remember that the NSA was created in secret … and Congress wasn’t even notified.

During the Vietnam war, the NSA spied on two prominent politicians: Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker.  Church was the chairman of the committee investigating wrongdoing by the NSA and other intelligence agencies.

To this day, Congress members get more information about NSA spying from reading the newspaper than they get in classified NSA briefings.

Congressman Justin Amash said that the NSA would only divulge information in classified briefings if Congress guessed at the right questions:

Amash said that intelligence officials are often evasive during classified briefings and reveal little new information unless directly pressed.


“You don’t have any idea what kind of things are going on,” Amash said. “So you have to start just spitting off random questions. Does the government have a moon base? Does the government have a talking bear? Does the government have a cyborg army? If you don’t know what kind of things the government might have, you just have to guess and it becomes a totally ridiculous game of twenty questions.

A senior staffer for the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee – one of the biggest apologists for NSA spying- confirms Amash’s statement:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in August that the committee has less information about, and conducts less oversight of, intelligence-gathering that relies solely on presidential authority. She said she planned to ask for more briefings on those programs.


“In general, the committee is far less aware of operations conducted under 12333,” said a senior committee staff member, referring to Executive Order 12333, which defines the basic powers and responsibilities of the intelligence agencies. “I believe the NSA would answer questions if we asked them, and if we knew to ask them, but it would not routinely report these things, and in general they would not fall within the focus of the committee.”

And the courts don’t have any oversight over the intelligence agencies either:

  • When these judges raised concerns about NSA spying, the Justice Department completely ignored them
  • The secret spying court recently noted that there is an institutional “lack of candor” at the NSA, and that the agency’s illegal spying constitutes a “very serious” constitutional issue

In other words, the intelligence agencies are rogue.


But what about Senator Graham’s question about whether someone who didn’t like him could blackmail him with information gained through spying?

Intelligence agency insiders says that blackmail is a huge part of why the intelligence agencies are really spying on us. And see this.

Postscript:  Here are the letters which Binney sent us:

*Binney is the NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information, who served as the senior technical director within the agency, who managed six thousand NSA employees, the 36-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency and the NSA’s best-ever analyst and code-breaker, who mapped out the Soviet command-and-control structure before anyone else knew how, and so predicted Soviet invasions before they happened (“in the 1970s, he decrypted the Soviet Union’s command system, which provided the US and its allies with real-time surveillance of all Soviet troop movements and Russian atomic weapons”).

Binney is the real McCoy. As we noted in 2013, Binney has been interviewed by virtually all of the mainstream media, including CBS, ABC, CNN, New York Times, USA Today, Fox News, PBS and many others.


cherry picker Mon, 07/03/2017 - 16:58 Permalink

People should hire a few contractors with heavy equipment to mow down Langley other CIA buildings and knock them out of business.  That way no one is hurt and the contractors could always say, "we're sorry, it was not our intention."  You know the same excuse when the USA bombs a hospital or wedding.The world would be a safer and more humane place without the CIA, the creators of ISIS, in it.

GeezerGeek Got The Wrong No Mon, 07/03/2017 - 17:45 Permalink

There is no way any congresscritter will "wake up and shut the Bitch down." They are interested in maintaining what we might call "congressional privilege". If Grahmnesty really cared about intelligence agencies spying on American citizens he would sponsor a bill prohibiting it - with serious penalties for violators and rewards for whistleblowers. It all seems to be shaping up as a choice between blood and serfdom.

In reply to by Got The Wrong No

nmewn silverer Mon, 07/03/2017 - 22:18 Permalink

And people who are ideologically opposed thought when we quoted Benjamin Franklins classic "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" thought it only applied to gunz.No, this is what we meant. Every new "expansion of government services" carries with its own openly declared initial price tag, followed by hidden undeclared "annual maintenance fees" that if the purchaser knew up front about, they would have never bought the item in the first place.For the snowflakes that means the old Arabic metaphor of, once the camels nose gets in the tent its body will follow ;-)

In reply to by silverer

omniversling Kayman Wed, 07/05/2017 - 07:55 Permalink

U.S. shares raw intelligence data with Israel, leaked document shows "One of NSA's biggest threats is actually from friendly intelligence services, like Israel," an unnamed NSA official is quoted as writing in one document. "There are parameters on what NSA shares with them, but the exchange is so robust, we sometimes share more than we intended."http://articles.latimes.com/2013/sep/11/world/la-fg-israel-nsa-20130912…...

In reply to by Kayman

jimmy c korn GeezerGeek Tue, 07/04/2017 - 01:00 Permalink

What I am asking is:Did Sen. Graham ask this question before or after the Snowden revelations? If Lindsey hadn't been so busy running around calling for a boycott of the Russian Olympics back then,  he might know what the American people do...Yes Senator you are being SPIED on and YES you will probably be BLACKMAILED in the foreseeable future!And see I didn't have to waste American TAX-DOLLARS to answer him.

In reply to by GeezerGeek

DuneCreature Mon, 07/03/2017 - 17:00 Permalink

Herein lies a BIG part of the problem:

When you agree to employment by the government you give up most of your rights as a US citizen.

Sign that non disclosure agreement or accept a security clearance and you are legally owned..........forever.

The Cut Throat Thieving Pirates have the title to your little life in their big booty chest.

Live Hard, It Makes Reporting Government Corruption Or Illegal Behavior A Gulag Time Offense, Die Free

~ DC v7.3

DuneCreature 44magnum Mon, 07/03/2017 - 20:57 Permalink

Heeeyasir, you have a very good point.

We are all hostages on this pirate ship or renegade Indians or self exiled pirates just barely living off of the reservation.

But most of those poor GSA employees have no idea what evil band of pirates they have joined up with until it is pretty hard to bail.

They get snow jobbed right out of the cradle.

Happy Pretend Independence Day, 44Mag.

On a long enough timeline and all of that.

Live Hard, Try And Stay On The Outside Of The Fence Wire, Die Free

~ DC v7.3

In reply to by 44magnum

VWAndy Mon, 07/03/2017 - 17:17 Permalink

 Access must be granted to a real civilian grand jury with the authority to kill. Accountability is the only practical solution to ever increasing perverted spying games. Yes folks everyone involved is some kinda sick fucking perv.

Yes We Can. Bu… Mon, 07/03/2017 - 17:22 Permalink

Senator can't get US intel to tell him anything?Tough noogies Senator.  Reap what you sow.I called one of my Senators and my Gubner today, asking for their email addresses, which they do no furnish as a matter of course - anywhere.  (The fucking cowards want you to send your message via their website form, meaning you'll be unable to prove it was ever transmitted or received).  Neither would furnish their email addresses.  I said that was ludicrous.  They said it was 'for security reasons'!!!!  The actual reason, of course, is to avoid accountability.Happily, doing a little googling led me to their email addresses, leaked by others.  IMO hold these bitches accountable....

Motorhead Mon, 07/03/2017 - 17:26 Permalink

I am not a Lindsey Graham fan at all, but, as he is a lawyer, is he pulling the "don't ask a question you don't already know the answer to" trick?  Graham was a tad selfish...could have asked about being an American citizen, not a Senator.  But, nice to see him make those panelists squirm a bit (not that anything will happen, though).And remember after 9/11, the DNI was created...another massive bureaucracy and subjugated the CIA to it.  

Golden Showers Motorhead Tue, 07/04/2017 - 07:43 Permalink

Well, yes. Grahm is a lawyer and also a faggot taking it from big John McCain. Nothing against homosexual lawyers in office, mind. But Lindsay shit bag is asking an honest question: Will this affect me? Will this push me out the closet? Am I being detained? Am I being blackmailed? Can the show go on?This circus, this disgusting sham of a government, this whore house of congress, this senate, this putrid shit can of death whores are a mockery of the human spirit. Outright in your face degenerate filth ask if their clothes are see thru.If you took every last queer cuck lawyer piece of shit traitor in some "office" of some "government" of some "country" on "independence day" and hanged them by their own intestines from any god given tree, with respect to god and trees, you would find that these sons of bitches would beg not to get thier collars dirty. Old, degenerate, psychopaths handing it down generation to generation, queer ass fucked compromised degenerate filth think that because there was a new JC Penny in town 30 years ago they have truck today.The sad fact is that intellegent, capable, bright, new leaders and warriors, and agents, friendlies, truthers, brothers, soldiers, don't see that these old faggy bastards are spitting in your face every day. Spitting old McCain sperm in your faces every day. It's such a joke. This farce of a federal government is a lie and anyone with a hard on for truth, freedom, the republic, hope, a chance for ones' children... to keep the boot off your face forever and ever and ever has got to stop licking and start pushing.Grahm Cracker butt boy is a weak helpless turd without his McCain and as I live and breathe, with respect to trees and god, he is a lying piece of shit. They all are lying pieces of shit. God and trees help them. Lying traitor filth. Undead. Unalive. Politbureau trash faggot disgusting freak show of soulless whores. Murderers. Devils. Trash.God help you you fucking imbecile piece of shit, Grahm. You pederast wimp cocksucking whore.How dare you breathe the same air as me you lying coward.BTW happy 4th of July, bitchez!God help us.

In reply to by Motorhead

hooligan2009 Mon, 07/03/2017 - 18:02 Permalink

ponders exactly what would happen if congress cancelled funding for the security agencies until they answered questions in closed sessionversuscongress is full of people that would take advantage of the intel from the security agencies for their own nefarious purposesversusthe MSM has been replaced as the fifth arm of government, not in the constituion, but which has more power over more people than the elected 435 + 100 + 1 + SCOTUSthis fifth column is above the law

nmewn hooligan2009 Tue, 07/04/2017 - 07:26 Permalink

Yes indeed, topics near & dear to my heart..."the MSM has been replaced as the fifth arm of government...this fifth column is above the law"As I've said before, something we have taught Squire from a very early age, with freedom comes responsibility. Its so deeply ingrained in him now it will never leave his consciousness which will be of great benefit to him and everyone around him for the rest of his life. And so it is with the media, they consciously chose their course of action and had every opportunity in this long sordid affair to change that course. They chose not to out of pride or ego or partisanship or incompetency is now completely irrelevant. At the end of the day they chose to be irresponsible with the freedom they were afforded, the damage is done and they have no one to blame but themselves.Moving on to other "consequences of actions"..."ponders exactly what would happen if congress cancelled funding for..."In the numerous congressional dog & pony shows (put on for public consumption) connected to all this the...reauthorization of funding for Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or...what we know as FISA. Whatever "collective good" coming out of this has now been demonstrably proven to have been dwarfed by its abuse by political partisans AND the "intelligence community" has no one to blame but themselves for the looming loss of funding. For it was they who acceded to the requests to "unmask" when they (knowing who the subjects of the unmasking were, as in the case of Mike Flynn) said yes to the request. They could (and should have) simply said no leaving Clapper, Comey & Brennan no other option but to leak directly to Fake Nuuuz without "the cover" of having Susan Rice & Associates do it for them.Therefore, Section 702 should not be reauthorized by Congress.And a Happy Fourth of July to all ;-)

In reply to by hooligan2009

Joe Dirt Mon, 07/03/2017 - 19:10 Permalink

Get a load of Iran and their so-called Democracy.The dumb plebes go to the polls and choose between presidential candidates approved by a Supreme Council. So they are voting for individuals selected by the permanent state. Amateurs.

Joe Dirt mary mary Mon, 07/03/2017 - 20:37 Permalink

Naw. Subtle jab at the US "democracy" with it's permanent Supreme Council. Only thing different from Iran is Americans can vote for the wrong guy and the deep state will fix it later. Kennedy, Nixon, and now Trump.Tell Milton Friedman we found our better angels.

In reply to by mary mary

. . . _ _ _ . . . Mon, 07/03/2017 - 19:15 Permalink

I'm thinking that he got his answers, at the break.They told him what they have on him, and he let the issue die.What you need is one representative who pre-emptively comes clean and rats himself out. Then he would be free to ask whatever the hell he wanted. He'd prolly get re-elected for his 'honesty.'

indygo55 Goldennutz Tue, 07/04/2017 - 06:57 Permalink

Hey, where's that report on the shootdown of the Dutch ariliner over Ukraine. How many years ago? Wasn't that supposed to be released by now? Oh, that was last summer. No one cares anymore. Hundreds of people died. It was a secret investigation and the Russians were not allowed to participate or see the results even though they were blamed for the shootdown. Remember? Not a peep. People on the ground reported that some of the corpses were already partially decomposed right after the crash. Maybe from another "operation"? Stupid humans. We are being totally played right in front of our faces.  Where are the journalists? have they all been scared off? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/28/mh17-investigation-prosecuto…

In reply to by Goldennutz

TeethVillage88s pizdowitz Tue, 07/04/2017 - 09:54 Permalink

Then, you are fired.

We paid for 40 years to back up the data, then 15 years ago we the taxpayers started paying huge IT Investments to modernize.

Should be many decentralized back-ups.

You're Fired. Reduction in grade for Military. We will dispute all of your outstanding Travel Vouchers and maybe for the last 5 years retro-grade! Real Estate Expenses to help you move in the past 5 years will be demanded back for non-performance. You will have permanent loss of your security clearance for poor performance and handling of information like Hillary Clinton. You will be barred from private security, intel, and MIC Industry... and stay out of banking & finance for the same reason you will be barred... no law practicing either.

In reply to by pizdowitz

Joe Dirt Mon, 07/03/2017 - 20:47 Permalink

Patronage in the Senate creates a perpetuity system. The members were very wise. Get in the club and they will make you a permanent member by appointing you to powerful committee seats. The voters end up in a "you first" situation when it comes to voting the bums out. Vote your bum out and we pinky swear we'll vote our guy out later. Nobody wants to vote their guy out for fear of losing patronage. This is a feature for the members of the club, not a bug.

pizdowitz Mon, 07/03/2017 - 21:49 Permalink

Love it. He thought that he was buddy-buddy with the boys? Ha Ha Ha..

The Praetorian Guard originally established by Octavius the August to protect the State, was eventually dis-solved by Constantine, after the Christian coup (as in "populist") - not sooner.

As Clint Eastwood put it : "you're feeling lucky punk?"

SmittyinLA Mon, 07/03/2017 - 21:01 Permalink

Let's ask the real NSA FBI director 911 commish and Fannie Mae paymaster Jamie Gorelick

She would be mostly likely to know, or we can ask her appointees on the Supreme Court.

BTW does everybody know Iran financed Fannie Mae? And probably 911?

...and Sheriff Arpaio and Baca's prosecution with all* her appointees.