EXCLUSIVE REPORT: NSA Whistleblower: Snowden Never Had Access to the JUICIEST Documents … Far More Damning

Cross-Posted from Washington’s Blog.

NSA Spying On Congress, Admirals, Lawyers … Content As Well As Metadata … Cheney Was Running the Show

NSA whistleblower Russel Tice was a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping.

Tice told PBS and other media that the NSA is spying on – and blackmailing – top government officials and military officers, including Supreme Court Justices, highly-ranked generals, Colin Powell and other State Department personnel, and many other top officials:

He says the NSA started spying on President Obama when he was a candidate for Senate:

Many of Tice’s allegations have been confirmed by other government whistleblowers. And see this.

Washington’s Blog called Tice to find out more about what he saw when he was at NSA.

RUSSELL TICE: We now know that NSA was wiretapping [Senator] Frank Church and another Senator.  [That has been confirmed.]

And that got out by accident. All the information the NSA had back then – and probably many other senators and important people too, back in the 70s – they shredded and they destroyed all of that evidence.  As much as they could find, they destroyed it all. By accident, something popped up 40 years later.

And, in fact, they were asked 40 years ago whether NSA had bugged Congress. And, of course, they lied. They lied through their teeth.

NSA Has Hidden Its Most Radical Surveillance Operations … Even from People Like Snowden Who Had General “Code Word” Clearance

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: Glenn Greenwald – supposedly, in the next couple of days or weeks – is going to disclose, based on NSA documents leaked by Snowden, that the NSA is spying on all sorts of normal Americans … and that the spying is really to crush dissent.  [Background here, here and here.]

Does Snowden even have documents which contain the information which you’ve seen?

RUSSELL TICE:  The answer is no.

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: So you saw handwritten notes. And what Snowden was seeing were electronic files …?

RUSSELL TICE: Think of it this way.  Remember I told you about the NSA doing everything they could to make sure that the information from 40 years ago – from spying on Frank Church and Lord knows how many other Congressman that they were spying on – was hidden?

Now do you think they’re going to put that information into Powerpoint slides that are easy to explain to everybody what they’re doing?

They would not even put their own NSA designators on the reports [so that no one would know that] it came from the NSA.  They made the reports look like they were Humint (human intelligence) reports.  They did it to hide the fact that they were NSA and they were doing the collection. That’s 40 years ago.  [The NSA and other agencies are still doing “parallel construction”, “laundering” information to hide the fact that the information is actually from mass NSA surveillance.]

Now, what NSA is doing right now is that they’re taking the information and they’re putting it in a much higher security level.  It’s called “ECI” – Exceptionally Controlled Information  – and it’s called the black program … which I was a specialist in, by the way.

I specialized in black world – DOD and IC (Intelligence Community) – programs, operations and missions … in “VRKs”, “ECIs”, and “SAPs”, “STOs”.   SAP equals Special Access Program. It’s highly unlikely Mr. Snowden had any access to these.   STO equals Special Technical Operations  It’s highly unlikely Mr. Snowden had any access to these.

Now in that world – the ECI/VRK world – everything in that system is classified at a higher level and it has its own computer systems that house it.  It’s totally separate than the system which Mr. Snowden was privy to, which was called the “JWICS”: Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System.  The JWICS system is what everybody at NSA has access to.  Mr Snowden had Sys Admin [systems administrator] authority for the JWICS.

And you still have to have TS/SCI clearance [i.e. Top Secret/ Sensitive Compartmented Information – also known as “code word” – clearance] to get on the JWICS.  But the ECI/VRK systems are much higher [levels of special compartmentalized clearance] than the JWICS.  And you have to be in the black world to get that [clearance].

ECI = Exceptionally Controlled Information. I do not believe Mr. Snowden had any access to these ECI controlled networks).   VRK = Very Restricted Knowledge. I do not believe Mr. Snowden had any access to these VRK controlled networks.

These programs typically have, at the least, a requirement of 100 year or until death, ’till the person first being “read in” [i.e. sworn to secrecy as part of access to the higher classification program] can talk about them.  [As an interesting sidenote, the Washington Times reported in 2006 that – when Tice offered to testify to Congress about this illegal spying – he was informed by the NSA that the Senate and House intelligence committees were not cleared to hear such information.]

It’s very compartmentalized and – even with stuff that they had – you might have something at NSA, that there’s literally 40 people at NSA that know that it’s going on in the entire agency.

When the stuff came out in the New York Times [the first big spying story, which broke in 2005] – and I was a source of information for the New York Times –   that’s when President Bush made up that nonsense about the “terrorist surveillance program.”  By the way, that never existed. That was made up.

There was no such thing beforehand.  It was made up … to try to placate the American people.

The NSA IG (Inspector General) – who was not cleared for this – all of a sudden is told he has to do an investigation on this; something he has no information or knowledge of.

So what they did, is they took a few documents and they downgraded [he classification level of the documents] – just a few – and gave them to them to placate this basic whitewash investigation.

Snowden’s Failure To Understand the Most Important Documents

RUSSELL TICE: Now, if Mr. Snowden were to find the crossover, it would be those documents that were downgraded to the NSA’s IG.

The stuff that I saw looked like a bunch of alphanumeric gobbledygook.  Unless you have an analyst to know what to look for – and believe me, I think that what Snowden’s done is great – he’s not an intelligence analyst.  So he would see something like that, and he wouldn’t know what he’s looking at.

But that would be “the jewels”. And the key is, you wouldn’t know it’s the jewels unless you were a diamond miner and you knew what to look for. Because otherwise, there’s a big lump of rock and you don’t know there’s a diamond in there.

I worked special programs. And the way I found out is that I was working on a special operation, and I needed information from NSA … from another unit. And when I went to that unit and I said “I need this information”, and I dealt with [satellite spy operations], and I did that in the black world.  I was a special operations officer. I would literally go do special missions that were in the black world where I would travel overseas and do spooky stuff.

Cheney Was Running the Show

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: You said in one of your interviews that Dick Cheney ordered the intercepts that you found in the burn bags [the bags of documents which were slated to be destroyed because they were so sensitive].

Is that right … and if so, how do you know that?

RUSSELL TICE: I did not know one way or the other until I talked to a very senior person at NSA who – much later – wanted to have a meeting with me. And we had a covert, clandestine style meeting. And that’s when this individual told me that the whole thing was being directed and was coming from the vice president’s office … Cheney, through his lawyer David Addington.

WASHINGTON’S BLOG:  It sounds like it wasn’t going through normal routes?  It’s not like Cheney or Addington made formal requests to the NSA … through normal means?

RUSSELL TICE: No, not normal at all. All on the sly … all “sneaky pete” under the table, in the evening when most NSA employees are gone for the day. This is all being done in the evenings … between like 7 [at night] and midnight.

NSA Is Spying On CONTENT as Well as Metadata

WASHINGTON’S BLOG: And from what you and others have said, it’s content as well as metadata?

RUSSELL TICE: Of course it is. Of course. [Background. But see this.]

NSA Spying On Journalists, Congress, Admirals, Lawyers …

RUSSELL TICE: In 2009, I told [reporters] that they were going after journalists and news organizations and reporters and such.

I never read text of Congressman’s conversations. What I had was information – sometimes hand-written – of phone numbers of Congressmen, their wives, their children, their staffers, their home numbers, their cellphone numbers, their phone numbers of their residence back in Oregon or whatever state they’re from, and their little offices back in their state.

Or an Admiral and his wife, and his kids and his staffers …

The main thing I saw more than anything else were lawyers and law firms. I saw more lawyers or law firms being wiretapped than anything else.

These are the phone numbers I saw written.  And then I would see those numbers incorporated into those lists with the columns of information about the phone number, and the serial number and the banks of recorders and digital converters and the data storage devices.   I could see handwritten phone numbers and notes, sometimes with names, sometimes not.

Snowden and Greenwald’s Whistleblowing Was Done In the Right Way

RUSSELL TICE: If Mr. Snowden would have had access to VRK, ECI, SAP, STO (and a few others that I will not mention here), and he released them en masse to the press, I would volunteer to shoot him as a traitor myself.

But this is not what he did.

He gave up JWICS info that he insisted be vetted for sources and methods, and true damage to national security. Mr. Greenwald and company should be congratulated on the restraint that they have shown with the JWICS documentation that they have in hand via Mr. Snowden.

Postscript: When Tice started blowing the whistle on NSA mass surveillance in the early 2000s, the NSA all of a sudden decided that Tice was “crazy”. As Tice told us:

For many years, I was the only NSA whistleblower in public.

And what they did is call me in – 9 months after my routine psychological evaluation – which I passed with flying colors, like every other one I’ve had in my entire career, passed with flying colors.

They called me in for an “emergency” psychological evaluation, and they declared me nuts.

I am a fairly good judge of character, and I found Tice to be humorous, self-deprecating in a healthy and light-hearted way, and consistent on the facts. Tice talked about how he was a pretty darn good football player in junior college, but no star athlete. He talked about how one reporter tried to make him out to be James Bond with leading man looks, and he thought that was ridiculous. We shared some normal “guy talk” about women. Tice has a little anger at the way the NSA tried to whitewash the mass surveillance that he uncovered (wouldn’t you be?), but he wasn’t enraged or over-the-top. Tice is also a patriotic American, not a subversive. Specifically, we spent a long time talking about the importance of the Constitution and the rule of law. In other words, Tice seems “oriented to reality”, completely sane, normal, ethical and bright to me.

And the following facts are more important than my personal impression:

Given the way that the NSA has been repeatedly caught in lies about its surveillance programs – and the way that it has attacked whisteblowers – I believe Tice over the NSA.

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About George Washington

George Washington is the head writer at Washington’s Blog. A busy professional and former adjunct professor, George’s insatiable curiousity causes him to write on a wide variety of topics, including economics, finance, the environment and politics. For further details, ask Keith Alexander… http://www.washingtonsblog.com


  1. Peter Pan

    We are not secure in our privacy. There is no restoring the net. Even my tinfoil hat has been hacked by NSA, motherfuckers!

    1. R Foreman

      The question is, who is giving the orders to the NSA to do all this spying on the legitimate government arms. I’m getting flashbacks to the shadow government in the xfiles, with the cancer-man wheezing out his directives between cigarette puffs.

      1. Vatch

        The actor who played the Cigarette Smoking Man on “The X-Files”, William B. Davis, now has a recurring role on “Continuum”, a science fiction television show about corporate control of government (and time travel — this is science fiction, after all). The future Senate is known as the Corporate Senate. The future folks don’t bother with control of the government by the rich. The richest people ARE the government.

        1. R Foreman

          Wealth by government-issued fiat sort of destroys the whole notion of money being the same as debt, eh?

          The debt merchants want money creation to be private, and the government lackeys want the same thing. They just can’t seem to get there from where we’re at now, and the more we travel our present course the harder it becomes to get back to the old normal.

          The new normal then is permanent wealth by government decree.. gawd I love this fuckin country.

  2. Ned Ludd

    Whistleblowers like Tice and Snowden went public when they found out that people of privilege – “Congressmen, their wives, their children, their staffers”, “an Admiral and his wife“, Supreme Court Justices, Colin Powell, and other State Department personnel – had become targets of surveillance.

    “I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you [Greenwald] or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the President, if I had a personal e-mail,” Edward Snowden told the Guardian.

    Snowden, by his own account, became disillusioned with the CIA when CIA operatives called the police on a Swiss banker, who they had encouraged to drink and drive. It was not the CIA’s torture program or its reign of terror that raised Snowden’s ire – but the arrest of a drunken banker. As Ted Rall writes in Pando:

    Most people killed by U.S. drones die at the hands of CIA employees. We’re talking about thousands of people. Most victims are innocent civilians.

    Torture at Guantánamo concentration camp was (and is) run by CIA agents. (After 9/11, the FBI was so appalled that pulled its agents out after witnessing CIA-run waterboarding.)

    “Extraordinary rendition” — kidnapping innocent men and delivering them to Third World shitholes to be tortured and murdered — was (and is) a CIA program.

    Someone should ask Tice and Snowden if their advocacy for an improved national security state still includes these programs.

    First, Silicon Valley portrayed itself as victims (instead of collaborators) of the surveillance state; and now politicians get to be victims, too. Poor Obama, forced to do the evil bidding of the national security state.

    To me, this seems to be a squabble among the elite. Once a reform bill passes with proper oversight, mass surveillance will be directed back at its original target – the rest of us.

    1. Makryu

      Couldn’t agree more. It does not seem like a call for meaningful change. Also, as a citizen of not-the-US, I’m constantly appalled by the fact that the journalists involved are more worried about not damaging this disgusting engine of manipulation than they are on making a real impact with what they have in their hands. I only wish this material had reached someone who had the world’s best interests in mind instead of american loyalists, someone who just release all this stuff for the world to see.

      1. hunkerdown

        The class interests we pretend not to have really do seem to trump all, don’t they?

    2. Xelcho

      Great comment!

      Recently, I too started taking a close look at these people who, have positioned themselves to be the vanguard of the populace by controlling the release of information. Under inspection there seems to be many unanswered or very poorly answered questions. From Greenwald’s monetizing the Snowden affair, by selling movie rights, by trickling out docs over an entire year leading him to land a “job of a lifetime”. When one reviews Greenwald’s response to these criticisms it is amazing how his investigative methods fail completely and da Nile is no longer a river.


      Let’s not forget everyone’s favorite Senator, D. Feinstein and her outrage at how NSA affected her. She fully supported them in surveilling everyone else, but when it included her and her staff it was a different story.

      Good luck finding someone who is actually not out to make a profit, fame or power.

    3. Ché Pasa

      Pretty obviously it’s a squabble among the elites — both governmental and non. A factional dispute over who should be exempt (not the Rabble, that’s for sure) and who should direct the operations of the surveillance/security apparat against everyone else. Who ought to be in charge? Who gets to pick the targets? What are the appropriate rules? What should be the consequences for those targeted?

      At no point have the players suggested curbing or eliminating the Panopticon with regard to the Rabble.The so-called “reform” bill liable to pass congress actually enhances the reach of the surveillance state.

      Oh but we’ll be urged to support it under the rubric of “baby steps…” You betcha.

    4. jrs

      They are people that work for the machine, what can you expect, they were people willing to work for it (and not just in naive know nothing roles that they somehow “fell into” either, although according to this article Tice is a far bigger insider than Snowden). I am happy to have there whilstleblowing though. But their mental health is mental health within the system (within an insane system).

  3. Lafayette

    VERY scary.

    The above recounting is tantamount to a “state within a state”. Which is intolerable and inadmissible within any real democracy.

    My point is this: Our’s is a model of democracy with “checks and balances”. Our national governance is of a nature tripartite – the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary branches.

    It is therefore necessary to see if the NSA (that works within the Executive branch) has any commensurate oversight responsibility within the Legislative Branch. Which is the question posed in this article that appeared recently on The Nation web-site here.

    From which article I excerpt this:

    Wednesday’s hearing nicely showcased the two major hurdles to congressional oversight. The first, as Wyden argued, is senior intelligence officials. The second is the congressional committees, which face an institutional mismatch with the intelligence community and whose members often seem more committed to protecting, rather than scrutinizing, the agencies they are tasked with overseeing.

    1. MRW

      Our national governance is of a nature tripartite – the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary branches.

      There are four “Estates.” The fourth is the press, which we forfeited to five people/organizations after Reagan deregulated the press in 1985. Before that it would have been unthinkable; it belonged to all Americans. And rules in place made sure it did.

  4. timotheus

    I wonder if they had a file on Schneiderman that came in handy a couple of years ago. His sudden cave always seemed too abrupt, and the bogus offer he got from Obama on the mortgage settlement didn’t seem enough of an incentive even for someone eager for a deal.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘The main thing I saw more than anything else were lawyers and law firms. I saw more lawyers or law firms being wiretapped than anything else.’

      This is an extension of the ‘win at all costs’ mentality which governs the DOJ now. With attorney-client confidentiality destroyed, 95% conviction rates are easily attained, even in the rare cases when a trial is still conducted.

      Such pervasive monitoring characterizes societies that are under martial law. The USA-PATRIOT Act imposed martial law. Now members of Congress themselves are imprisoned by it.

      1. James Levy

        I’ve read similar stats (average of 94% conviction rate for cases that go to trial) and I wonder where all those “government is incompetent and can’t do shit” people are in all this. Wouldn’t you be concerned if you think the government to be largely ineffective if you saw that one part of it was getting its way 94% of the time when it had to try, and 100% of the time when it forces plea-bargains on people (because the idea from cop shows that it’s the accused who are proposing plea deals is utter nonsense)? People who don’t think the government competent enough to deliver mail cheer when they send people to the death house–how nuts is that?

  5. Troll

    Always seemed obvious to me that the dominos will/would drop in this order;

    – pervasive NSA surveillance of Joe Bloggs revealed
    – pervasive NSA surveillance of politicians revealed
    – NSA surveillance being used to blackmail politicians revealed?
    – private money being used (via the NSA) to blackmail politicians (e.g. Haliburton -> Cheney/NSA -> blackmail) next revelation?

    Follow the money………

    1. jrs

      I wonder what they have on them that’s so bad to blackmail them with though? Insider trading? Bribes? Affairs? Gay affairs? Pedophilia? Drunk driving? Running a stop sign? Really what? You would think eventually they’d run up against some whose biggest secret is picking their nose or who don’t care if their affair gets out there.

      Maybe the next domino to drop is that they don’t just blackmail they make death threats. NSA mafia.

  6. James Levy

    At least when Hudson said “this ain’t happening, man” in Aliens, he had the excuse that he was scared shitless. I think the MSM and the politicians who keep trying to make it out that this is not happening, the Obamabots who endlessly try to tell us that whatever the last lie he or one of his henchmen proclaimed was true, they are not acting out of fear. They want these capabilities in place and are lying out of an urge to protect the system, not fear of it. I find this bewildering and depressing, but I’d say it’s true 95 times out of 100. I think they were happy when by the merest “chance” Spitzer just happened to be bugged and exposed; too many people found him an arrogant, sanctimonious prick with pretensions of upsetting the apple cart and connived in taking him down.

    They’ve found the ultimate weapon in defending the status quo–step out of line and your wife and kids will find out all about how you like jerking off to Brazilian midgets getting facials, or your boss will get all those emails where you relate who in the office he’s fucking and how he’s cooking the books. Everyone and everything is frozen in place. And that’s just the way too many Americans (certainly those who still enjoy affluence and job security and therefore count) want it.

    1. Banger

      Let’s just state the facts clearly. We live, by any possible interpretation, in a police state. We have no guaranteed rights–in fact we have rights that could be respected or not depending on things that have nothing to do with the law–there is, today, no absolute rule of law–there is law that operates as it was meant to unless it runs into the interests of major corporations or the security services. This was more or less the reality of the Soviet system–there were laws, trials that went by the book and then there were those cases that had a different status.

  7. Eureka Springs

    Madness. The coup is so thoroughly complete. The fruit is rotten from it’s very core to the tree, its roots, even the very soil and water from which it originated. We are a zombie nation insisting upon a zombie planet. Zombies hazing zombies, it’s systemic. Most zombies don’t know they are zombies. Aside from a large asteroid or solar storm taking out our entire planetary grid, I cannot imagine a single peaceful or violent way this can be stopped…. probably because I am a zombie too.

  8. victom sheep

    Tice said he would shoot Snowden, wow. There you have it. Him, Snowden and everyone else, it is all a farce. The only way any of this can be stopped or at the very least slowed down is a total dump and let the people (us) sort out what we are looking at. This slow steady pace only helps the state do what it wants. Any information that gets out is still the bidding of the state and those who run it. The real leaders of this land we call America are all very comfortable reading what Greenwald and Co are dishing out which is not very much at all. All of you have to know you were being spied on before and guess what nothing new here move along people….next. Oh here is your new distraction…move along. We need nothing short of full scale violent revolution to do even the smallest of impact. Peace out….

  9. irenic

    A story like this makes me wonder if Snowden is actually still working for the CIA and his ‘revelations’ are just ammunition in the bureaucratic infighting between the CIA and NSA? After all, the NSA had become the biggest gorilla in D.C. and the Snowden revelations of the past year–these ‘unauthorized leaks’ seem to have barely touched the surface of the deep dark unconstitutional things the NSA does–might have been the best way for other power centers to reign them in or bring them down a peg. It might even explain Omidyar, with his known intelligence ties, and Greenwald’s relationship.

    1. Banger

      It’s hard to tell what is going on in that world. But I’m pretty sure Snowden is what he says he is and does not work for the CIA. I do believe, however, he did not act alone at NSA and that’s just a guess. I believe there are dissidents (above Snowden’s pay grade) who helped him or looked the other way who have families and lives that can’t blow whistles. The government has made it increasingly clear that, at any level, whistleblowing will not be tolerated unless it involves low-ranking employees who are making some chump change out of procurements and so on. I know for a fact that major corruptions in procurements, services rendered by consultants have become routine throughout the government.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      You are probably over thinking it.

      People still have agency, and despite Obama’s war on whistle blowers, a credible voice will exist to complain in an organization that big. Watch the rats go after Obama in the next few months despite the mantra of “No drama Obama.” Whether out of conscience or that being too affiliated with the Obama White House will close a political career, this will happen.

      The major issue is the NSA/CIA/FBI and so forth are bloated bureaucracies with numerous departments thrown together in mad dashes due to politicking originally without any oversight. Your local public school has oversight from local, state, and federal governments, the PTA, the teacher’s unionS, politicians looking to make hay, administration, individual teachers, and students, and yet they still have waste and teachers handing out condoms to six year olds. Those organizations despite hiding behind flags and fear have the same problems as any other outfit except they don’t have oversight. Bad ideas aren’t stopped, and the incompetent aren’t removed. There is no history of these kinds of organizations being this clever, so the Snowden story has no major omission. Would say drug related operations be part of his bailiwick? Maybe, maybe not, but randomly looking and knowing what to look for are two different things. Needless to say Snowden confirmed conspiracy theory and has taken shots at the CIA, pointing out that there failure to report Al Qaeda’s presence on U.S. soil despite a legal requirement allowed the 9/11 hijackers total operational freedom. I think the Patriot Act should be applied to those CIA employees as an example, but Snowden was the one who has reminded everyone of the CIA’s pivotal role in allowing the last decade.

      1. Banger

        The 9/11 attacks perfectly met the need of PNAC’s need for a “new Pearl Harbor” so why would anyone be brought to account for that? Even if the official story were true (there is no evidence that it is true–the government just said it was true and that was the end of it) it perfectly met the need to officially destroy the Bill of Rights and habeas corpus as well as provide trillions of dollars for “defense” contractors–what’s not to like? Al-quaida did then and does now act as the CIA’s Arab legion (Bosnia, Libya, Syria, Iraq) and Orwellian stooges to create a state of permanent war that can, theoretically, never end.

  10. Lord Koos

    With the technical capability the NSA has, there are no more secret trysts, secret parties or secret meetings with your lawyer. I have long suspected that, in the tradition of J. Edgar Hoover, the NSA has dirt on pretty much everyone of importance. This looks to have been the case — in effect they are now able to run the country. If you can threaten blackmail to a great degree you can control politics.

    1. Banger

      There’s a story out there, which I believe, that the CIA and its associates in the Mafia had photographic proof of Hoover’s sexual preferences which is why Hoover did not touch the Mafia and did not follow any leads on the Kennedy murders.

      1. TheCatSaid

        The documentary series Evidence of Revision consists of 6 full-length documentaries based on copious historical first-person testimony and references, and little-known original media footage.

        It documents the things you mention, and more.

  11. washunate

    This is exactly the kind of thing I think about when people propose having the government spend more money.

    Our primary task is retaking control of the government that already exists. It is enormous, beyond comprehension, and still growing. Tice commented in 2005 that the nation had decayed into a police state.

    And of course people lower down the food chain in America have known it for much longer than that.

  12. Justicia

    Wow. No wonder people who watch Stewart and Colbert are better informed than PBS viewers. Woodruff lets the NSA counsel Brenner get away w. ad hominem attacks on Binney and Tice. She never asks the obvious and essential follow-up: “Does the NSA categorically deny these allegations?”

    1. OIFVet

      Respectfully, there are times when one can disinform by informing. IMO Stewart is particularly good at it. The result is most of his viewers may be informed enough about the problem and still think that the democrats are not part of it and will in fact provide the solution to the problem.

      1. francis

        Dude’s a comedian, Paul Krugman’s a much better example of what you’re talking about.

    2. Banger

      In general they are better informed because the information Steward and Colbert present is better presented and written. The quality of writing on those two programs is excellent and the quality of writing for the average newscast is miserably bad. Using humor and a POV makes what those two say more believable. Having said that the information they promote and the slant of the news is mainly Washington consensus stuff that MSNBC and NPR present less well. Colbert will go out on a limb a little but Stewart is very Washington consensus.

      The only cable news that is interesting is RT–they offer a variety of views unavailable elsewhere and, since I’ve been watching them on occasion, they appear to be more accurate than the rest of the media and their copy is better written usually. Al-Jazeera America, while still very conventional will also offer alternative views and much more intelligent interviews and conversations than any other network.

  13. Banger

    The world of black operations is something the vast majority of those describing themselves as being on the left (including radicals) won’t touch. The mere fact that a part of government getting funds that cannot be traced (most funds are channeled through the Pentagon budget which refuses to allow itself to be audited) and is running operations that no one other than a handful of people know about would indicate that these few people are the ultimate ruling elites who hold the balance of power in their hands. They can kill, torture, disappear, tap phones, have you followed, harass you with phone calls on your unlisted number in the middle of the night. burglarize your house, kidnap your children and the list goes on without end.

    The CIA was set up in 1947 but its functions were carried out by other organizations in a kind of haphazard way. But it was only after that period when the Cold War offered a cover for black budgets and gave the CIA a free hand in engaging in criminal activities including drug smuggling and establish solid networks within organized crime gangs including the creation of an assassination service. Now, the left avoids talking about these matters because they are afraid of being called “conspiracy theorists” which wold turn of others they believe. The fact is that up to 70% of the American people believe the official explanation of the JFK assassination is wrong (that number is now down due to the very active disinformation campaign that led up to the 50th anniversary)–but still the left could have taken up the cause that there is a secret government that has life and death power over Presidents, members of Congress and media personalities and editors and found fertile ground with the public–the question of why they have chosen not to play up that aspect of the story is very suspicious because the evidence is stunningly clear–there is no chance that the official stories are even remotely true if you look at the actual evidence.

    We cannot forget that people connected with intel have had decades of almost absolute power that neither Congress nor any President can touch. The black-op community is the muscle of the oligarchy and democracy does not and cannot exist in the U.S. and, increasingly, it’s hard to see it as surviving anywhere else. I believe, for example, that the inexplicable actions of Euro leaders are directly tied to offers by the black-ops people that the seemingly spineless EU leaders cannot refuse. What stuns me is that this is obvious but is not the main subject of discussion when we talk national and international politics.

    1. TheCatSaid

      These revelations are not new but are not usually discussed in mainstream media.

      One of the most chilling interviews on the topic of intelligence revealed that both the (CIA/NSA – can’t recall which) and FBI required its new analysts to carry out comprehensive background investigations on people who might be put forward as candidates or for other public roles, judges, etc. The FBI person commented that to their surprise, after forwarding the results to their higher ups, the people whose backrounds were “whiter than white” (i.e., no financial problems, no sexual indiscretions, no corruption, no criminality) were never on the list of recommended individuals. However, the names of those with the worst and most corrupt backgrounds were always at the top of the “recommended” list. The implication is that the system has long been established in which people have been chosen to be in office or in certain positions of power precisely because they can be controlled due to their private indiscretions having been known and documented long before they ever attained office.

      As a result, judges, for example, can be counted on by TPTB to rule a certain way when a matter has importance for TPTB.

      (The context for this part of the interview in question was an FBI whistleblower with a pending court case being approached quietly by another FBI staff, who was warning her about the situation with the judges–i.e., they could not be relied on to be “fair” because they were chosen because they were compromised and hence could be controlled. Among other things, they had “cracked” the system of how judges were assigned to specific cases, so that what appeared to be random was not random.)

      1. TheCatSaid

        This was meant to be a reply to the main blog post, however it’s relevant to Banger’s comment as well.

        1. James Levy

          Can you give us any citation or follow-up info on this? I’m not attacking you, just want the info out there in a manner that can be used as evidence when people poo-poo such claims.

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