WMR has learned from U.S. intelligence sources that the Justice Department's Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP), the warrantless domestic wiretapping program largely conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA), was a mere bureaucratic contrivance developed by the Justice Department to legally cover the NSA from constitutional oversight hearings by Congress and law suit actions from telecommunication customers over what amounted to total surveillance of the American people.
The NSA operation, code named STELLAR WIND, and known only to a few top officials in the Bush administration, targeted massive collected digital databases of phone calls, emails, faxes, pages, and other digital communications. The data, known as meta-data, was searched by NSA signals intelligence analysts for key words and phrases using a Google-like search engine.
The STELLAR WIND program was overseen by Vice President Dick Cheney's chief counsel David Addington. In a new twist, intelligence sources report that the plans for STELLAR WIND were put into place long before the 9/11 attacks. Qwest chairman Joseph Nacchio claimed that he and his firm were pressured by NSA six months prior to 9/11 to participate in a program to conduct warrantless surveillance of Qwest customers. Nacchio and Qwest believed the program was illegal and demanded court warrants. Nacchio was later indicted and convicted for insider trading, a move Qwest sources claim was government retaliation for Nacchio's refusal to participate in the wiretapping program. It is now been revealed to WMR that the program in question was, in fact, STELLAR WIND.
On February 25, 2010, WMR reported: "WMR has learned from sources who worked in senior positions for the telecommunications company Qwest that its former Chairman and CEO Joseph Nacchio was threatened with retaliation after he refused to participate in an unconstitutional and illegal National Security Agency (NSA) wiretapping program after he met with NSA officials on February 27, 2001, some six months before the 9/11 attacks. Nacchio refused to turn over customer records without a court order -- something NSA did not possess at the time it made its request.
After Nacchio refused NSA's request on the grounds that it was illegal, sources close to Nacchio reported his legal problems with the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission began in earnest. First, Qwest lost out on several lucrative federal government contracts and second, Nacchio was indicted and convicted in 2007 of 19 counts of insider stock trading. Nacchio was sentenced to six years the Schuykill federal prison camp in Minersville, Pennsylvania where he is now assigned prisoner number 33973-013."
WMR has learned additional technical details about STELLAR WIND. The NSA was able to conduct key word and key phrase differentiation between various American accents by using sophisticated algorithms. The software used by NSA could determine the spoken word "car" in a Bostonian accent as opposed to the spoken word "car" in a Midwestern or Southern accent. The NSA algorithms could also determine spoken words in New York, Philadelphia, Hispanic, Asian, New Orleans, French Canadian, African American, Tidewater Virginian, and Native American accents, as well as others.
In addition to STELLAR WIND's warrantless tracking and analysis of meta-data containing all the communications of Americans, another super-classified code-named NSA program monitored the communications of U.S. journalists. At least 150 U.S. journalists were subjected to NSA surveillance. There is some evidence that the surveillance was also conducted prior to 9/11.
A U.S. intelligence source confirmed that among the journalists monitored were "Sy Hersh, James Bamford, Wayne Madsen, Siobhan Gorman, James Risen, Bill Gertz."
NSA's "Q Group" security branch maintains a file on many of the surveilled journalists. WMR has learned that the files include the driver's license photos of journalists, including the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles license of this editor. The FBI is an active participant in the NSA journalist surveillance program. The Stasi-like electronic and physical surveillance continues to this day.
Of particular interest to NSA analysts were the satellite-borne communications of U.S. journalists reporting from foreign locations, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and other countries.
WHO ELSE HAS BEEN UNDER TOTAL SURVEILLANCE?
Although NSA's surveillance of journalists would appear to be a major and egregious violation of the Constitution, there is evidence that STELLAR WIND had another, more sinister, off-shoot. The most sensitive program conducted warrantless electronic surveillance of elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as federal and state judges. WMR has previously reported that the communications and transactional data of Governors Bill Richardson of New Mexico and former Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York were subjected to NSA surveillance. The surveillance of the two governors has been confirmed by extremely knowledgeable sources.
The future for NSA's warrantless total surveillance programs appears rosy. NSA is building a $2 billion, 120 acre meta-data facility at Camp Williams in Utah and another similar data repository in San Antonio, Texas. Data storage capabilities are also being expanded at NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland and at NSA's huge signals intelligence collection facility at Menwith Hill, UK. The Congress has made no move to question the NSA's warrantless spying on Americans and President Obama flipped his position when he backed retroactive immunity for telecommunication firms that illegally participated in STELLAR WIND and its affiliated surveillance programs before and after 9/11.
NSA Security currently maintains the following Virginia DMV photo of editor in its files of journalists under NSA and FBI surveillance.