Friday, October 10, 2008

Inside Operation Highlander: The NSA's Wiretapping of Americans Abroad

Kim Zetter writes on Threat Level:

A top secret NSA wiretapping facility in Georgia accused of spying on Americans illegally was hastily staffed with inexperienced reservists in the months following September 11, where they worked under conflicting orders and with little supervision, according to three former workers at the spy complex.

"Nobody knew exactly what the heck we were doing," said a former translator for the project, code named Highlander, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We were figuring out the rules as we were going along."

Former Army Reserve linguist Adrienne Kinne, who worked at the facility at Fort Gordon, won new attention this week for her year-old claim that she intercepted and transcribed satellite phone calls of American civilians in the Middle East for the National Security Agency. Senate intelligence committee chair Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) opened a probe into the alleged abuses after ABC News reported on them Thursday.

Threat Level spoke with Kinne extensively last year about the alleged systematic surveillance of Americans and others operating in the Middle East following the 9/11 attacks. She provided a number of details about some of the calls and how the operation was conducted.

More here.


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