Why would NSA begin warrantless domestic spying BEFORE 9/11?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006 at 02:48 PM

Our much esteemed president has barraged the airwaves with claims that the horror of 9/11 made his domestic warrantless spying program absolutely essential.

Ignoring for the moment the fact that its "essentialness" says absolutely nothing about why the government doesn't want to be bothered getting a warrant, how would he explain the fact that the NSA commenced a domestic spying program (spying on its own employees and their contacts among the journalism and congressional worlds) before 9/11?

That's Wayne Madsen's claim in Alternative Press Review.



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 and offices.

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 Since the intelligence community's reorganization, the DCI has been replaced by the Director of National Intelligence headed by John Negroponte and his deputy, former NSA director Gen.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."
[End of Excerpt]

If true, especially the part about targeting any "disgruntled employee," there should be major congressional investigation, even more major public outcry, and, perhaps, even a complaint or two from the media.