Glenn Greenwald Responds to Rep. Neil Gallagher’s question on Executive intimidation of Congress

Last night, LaRouchePAC Basement team member Jason Ross asked investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald a question from Rep. Neil Gallagher, on the parallels between Hoover’s FBI and today’s NSA. Greenwald responded that there are big stories in the pipeline on who in the U.S. the NSA is surveilling, saying it was very much like Hoover’s FBI in the 60s and 70s.

You can watch the interaction here.

Transcript: JASON ROSS: I’m excited to get to ask you this, since you gave a hint on it on your Colbert appearance. I have a question for you from 93-year old former congressman Neil Gallagher, who fought against the Hoover FBI when he was the chair of the Special Subcommittee on Invasion of Privacy, which resulted in the Freedom of Information Act. He had a question for you: he said that he’s been following your reporting on the NSA with great interest since it parallels his experience with the Hoover FBI, and as a Member of Congress from 1959-1973, he saw firsthand how the FBI used methods like the NSA today to develop compromising dossiers on Members of Congress to force their votes on key issues. He opposed Hoover, and lost his seat due to his stand.

He says: “My question to you is: what can you tell us about the potential for the Executive Branch to use the NSA as an internal political policing unit able to control the Congress and Judiciary by threatening to create personal scandals to oust them from office, just as the Hoover FBI did in his day.

GLENN GREENWALD: So I get in big trouble with all the editors and all the journalists with whom I work on these stories whenever I give those little previews—when I have a momentary loss of control. And then there’s all these headlines after the Colbert Report saying: “Glenn Greenwald vows the greatest story is coming,” and they say thank you for all that lovely pressure.

ROSS: I was going to ask you this anyway.

GREENWALD: Right, so I’m going to be a little careful about that (uncharacteristically), but what I will say is that we have had stories that speak directly to that question. There was a story that we published in the Huffington Post three or four months ago that’s a remarkable document (that didn’t get so much attention—at least the attention it deserved—sometimes it’s just luck because of what else is going on that day), that had the NSA saying that they had taken six people that they consider radicals. But they said specifically that they are not members of a terrorist organization or plotting terrorist attacks; they simply have what the US government regards as a message that is radical—just like in the 1960s and 70s with J. Edgar Hoover, regarding Martin Luther King, the Black Panthers, John Lennon, anti-war activists, and civil rights leaders as having a message that was radical.

And it talked about how—one of them who was a US person—it talked about how they monitored their internet, online activities, including sexually explicit chats and visits to pornographic websites, and it talked about how they could release that information about those individuals so as to discredit them as messengers or prevent them from being listened to in their communities: which is pure J. Edgar Hoover 1960/1970 COINTELPRO of the kind the Congressman is asking about.

There have been stories about the GCHQ monitoring the identities of people who visit the WikiLeaks website, or about ruining the reputation of so-called “hacktivists”—people who just use online activism for political ends: some really nasty forms of reputation destruction that they’ve not only plotted but used against them. That is exactly the kind of political abuse of surveillance capabilities that are so famous from the 60s and 70s.

But, the problem is, is that, in any given society, the people who are viewed as radical are always viewed as threatening. We look at the anti-war leaders and civil rights activists and Martin Luther King with this sort-of benefit of hindsight as kind of cuddly creatures who were just very peaceful and non-threatening, because they’ve been vindicated by history. But that isn’t how they were seen by the political and media elite of the 60s and 70s. They WERE viewed as threats, just like people who are Muslim who stand up and say “I think Palestinians have the right to defend themselves” or “I believe that it’s US violence in the Muslim world that causes terrorism” — they are now seen as radicals as well. And the surveillance system is very much about targeting those kinds of people. There are already stories about that, and—I know go ahead and kill me, John Cook [Intercept editor-in-chief]…. But there are definitely stories like that coming.

ROSS: Thank you.

Watch the LaRouchePAC Feature presentation “Rep. Neil Gallagher: Profile in Courage.”

Susan Rice and Obama Administration Asked NSA to Spy on Foreigh Diplomats at UN

The New York Times reports, based on Glenn Greenwald’s new book, No Place to Hide, that in May 2010, during the debate on Iran sanctions, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, asked the NSA to spy on foreign diplomats and give her information “so that she could develop a strategy.” The NSA then obtained legal approval for spying on diplomats from four Security Council members — Bosnia, Gabon, Nigeria and Uganda — whose embassies and missions were somehow not already under surveillance, as all of the others seem to have already been. In June, 12 of the 15 UNSC members voted to approve additional sanctions on Iran.

Later, Rice thanked the NSA, saying that NSA intelligence had helped her to know when diplomats from the other permanent representatives on the Security Council — China, England, France and Russia — “were telling the truth … revealed their real position on sanctions … gave us an upper hand in negotiations …. and provided information on various countries’ red lines.” The Times doesn’t mention if she thanked the NSA for providing blackmail material as well.

According to the Times, Greenwald’s new book also reproduces a document listing embassies and missions that had been penetrated by the NSA, which includes Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, the European Union, France, Georgia, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Venezuela and Vietnam.

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