FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- December 22, 2005
Contact: Sibel Edmonds, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, firstname.lastname@example.org , Tel- (703) 519-3640 or Michael D. Ostrolenk, Liberty Coalition, email@example.com, Tel- (301) 717-0599
Former NSA Intelligence Analyst & Action Officer Urges to be Heard by Congress Regarding Unlawful Conduct by NSA
Russ Tice, former National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence analyst and action officer, has sent the following two letters to the chairs of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. Mr. Tice intends to report to Congress probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts conducted while he was an intelligence officer with the National Security Agency (NSA) and with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). These acts involved the Director of the National Security Agency, the Deputies Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, and the U.S. Secretary of Defense, and were conducted via very highly sensitive intelligence programs and operations known as Special Access Programs (SAP). SAP programs and operations are more commonly referred to as “black world” programs and operations. Mr. Tice was a technical intelligence specialist dealing almost exclusively with SAP programs and operations at both NSA and DIA.
Mr. Tice stated: “As a Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) officer it is continually drilled into us that the very first law chiseled in the SIGINT equivalent of the Ten Commandments (USSID-18) is that Thou shall not spy on American persons without a court order from FISA. This law is continually drilled into each NSA intelligence officer throughout his or her career. The very people that lead the National Security Agency have violated this holy edict of SIGINT." A pivotal question in this case is whether Americans were being spied on via a vacuum cleaner approach wherein vast amounts of information are sucked in. FISA warrants require a name of the target and would not cover such a mass approach. He also added: “In addition to knowing this fundamental commandment of not violating the civil rights of Americans, intelligence officers are required to take an oath to protect the United States Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. It is with my oath as a US intelligence officer weighing heavy on my mind that I wish to report to congress acts that I believe are unlawful and unconstitutional. The freedom of the American people cannot be protected when our constitutional liberties are ignored and our nation has decayed into a police state.”
"These actions by the current administration are a compulsion to secrecy, an expansive view of presidential authority, and reluctance to answer to the people and Congress. Woodrow Wilson, himself no novice concerning secrecy, claimed that it is a 'fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety'. That is a presumption that we have been called upon to suspend in the name of national security, but with recent disclosures that suspended judgment appears to have been unwise. We urge the congress to hold hearings and let patriotic witnesses like Russ Tice testify,” stated Sibel Edmonds, the director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC).
Michael Ostrolenk, National Director of the Liberty Coalition agrees with Mrs. Edmonds and stated further “I am glad to know that Mr. Tice takes his oath to the Constitution seriously. He obviously knows that his obligation is not to this or any Administration but to our Republican form of government with its proper checks and balances and to protect the rights it was instituted to secure.” He continued “This is less about a particular Administration and more about the natural tendency for government to become destructive to the very ends it was created to fulfill. I hope that Congress takes it oversight responsibilities seriously and investigates Mr. Tice’s allegations in an open and non-partisan manner.”
Here is the letter by Mr. Tice, sent on Dec 18, 2005, to the Senate & House Intelligence Committee:
Dear Chairman Roberts,
Under the provisions of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA), I intend to report to Congress probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts conducted while I was an intelligence officer with the National Security Agency (NSA) and with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). These acts involve the Director of the National Security Agency, the Deputies Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, and the U.S. Secretary of Defense.
These probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts were conducted via very highly sensitive intelligence programs and operations known as Special Access Programs (SAP)s. I was a technical intelligence specialist dealing almost exclusively with SAP programs and operations at both NSA and DIA.
Due to the highly sensitive nature of these programs and operations, I will require assurances from your committee that the staffers and/or congressional members to participate retain the proper security clearances, and also have the appropriate SAP cleared facilities available for these discussions.
Please inform me when you require my appearance on Capitol Hill to conduct these discussions in relation to this ICWPA report.
Russell D. Tice
Former Intelligence Officer, NSA
Tice, Russ; Former Intelligence Analyst & Action Officer, Air Force, Naval Intelligence, DIA and NSA
Russ Tice worked technical intelligence issues as an all-source analyst, systems instructor, special programs expert, technical missions operations action officer, tasking agent, field intelligence on-site analyst and liaison, and advanced capabilities officer. Known as a stickler for technical detailed analysis and “by the book” on security regs. After returning from a temporary overseas assignment in 2001, he observed that a DIA coworker exhibited the classic signs of involvement in espionage. After quietly reporting this, his suspicion was quickly dismissed by DIA’s counterintelligence (CI) office. He continued to observe activity to suggest there was a problem and reported such. He returned to the National Security Agency and, busy with the Iraqi War, dropped the issue. When noting a report that FBI CI agents availed secrets to a China source for sex, he questioned the FBI’s competence. NSA retaliated by having him declared crazy, revoking his security clearance, and terminating his employment in May 2005.
About National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), founded in August 2004, is an independent and nonpartisan alliance of whistleblowers who have come forward to address our nation’s security weaknesses; to inform authorities of security vulnerabilities in our intelligence agencies, at nuclear power plants and weapon facilities, in airports, and at our nation’s borders and ports; to uncover government waste, fraud, abuse, and in some cases criminal conduct. The NSWBC is dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers through a variety of methods, including advocacy of governmental and legal reform, educating the public concerning whistleblowing activity, provision of comfort and fellowship to national security whistleblowers suffering retaliation and other harms, and working with other public interest organizations to affect goals defined in the NSWBC mission statement. For more on NSWBC visit www.nswbc.org
About Liberty Coalition
The Liberty Coalition works to help organize, support, and coordinate transpartisan public policy activities related to civil liberties and basic human rights. We work in conjunction with groups of partner organizations that are interested in preserving the Bill of Rights, personal autonomy and individual privacy.
The Liberty Coalition is concerned about the threat to Americans' fundamental and inalienable rights. The Coalition is dedicated to upholding and protecting our basic rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In order to accomplish our task, we seek to protect those freedoms as articulated in the Bill of Rights. We base our concerns on the fundamental values and principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, particularly the separation of powers and federalism, and Bill of Rights. These are also embodied in the 14th amendment, especially the due process and privileges and immunities clauses.