Now that he is officially sworn in as the new head of the Central Intelligence
Agency, Gen. Michael Hayden plans to build a vast domestic spying network that
will pry into the lives of most Americans around the clock.
President George W. Bush told Hayden to "take whatever steps necessary"
to monitor Americans 24/7 by listening in on their phone calls, bugging their
homes and offices, probing their private lives, snooping into their financial
records and watching their travel habits.
Can I prove this in a court of law? No. Do I know it is happening? Yes, without
a doubt. Enough sources within the CIA, FBI, NSA and Pentagon have come forward
in recent days to warn about Hayden's plans for an expanded, consolidated spy
network aimed at Americans, not terrorists, and violating numerous laws that
prohibit such activities against citizens of this country.
"What Hayden plans to do is not only illegal, it is immoral," says
a longtime CIA operative who may retire early rather than participate in what
he sees as an illegal extension of the spy agency's activities.
Hayden, who oversaw the National Security Agency's questionable monitoring
of phone calls and emails of Americas, plans to consolidate much of the country's
domestic spying into a new desk at the CIA, calling it a "domestic terrorism
The desk will oversee not only NSA's increased monitoring of electronic communications
by Americans but also the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's "terrorist
information awareness" program that monitors travel and financial activities
by Americans by gathering real-time data from banks, airlines, travel agencies
and credit card companies.
The CIA operation will also coordinate with the Pentagon's domestic spying
program that monitors activities of anti-war groups, organizations critical
of the Bush administrations and others tagged as enemies of the state.
FBI agents will step up monitoring of journalists to identify leaks of stories
embarrassing to the government. The bureau is already monitoring phone calls
and emails by reporters on a routine basis and has increased surveillance of
writers for major news organizations and monitoring of travel and financial
records using the DARPA computers.
"This is not 'total information awareness' but 'total information control'
aimed at watching Americans fulltime and ignoring the protections that are supposed
to be guaranteed by the Constitution," says an FBI agent familiar with
the programs. "I didn't sign on for this and I'm getting the hell out."
In fact, resignations at major U.S. spy agencies are at an all-time high. Exact
numbers are classified but sources say field agents, data analysts and others
are leaving in droves rather than join the frenzy to spy on Americans.
Hayden sailed through the Senate confirmation process defending his domestic
spying program at NSA, claiming it was legal. Privacy experts and Constitutional
law professors say otherwise but the Senate rubber-stamped Bush's choice anyway,
choosing to ignore the threats to freedom.
Hayden will have little problem concealing the operation from the public and
Congress. Many of the CIA's programs are classified and the agency has, in the
past, concealed programs even from the intelligence committees in both the House
and Senate. The DARPA project and the Pentagon domestic spying programs are
"black bag" operations that do not require Congressional approval
Likewise, many of the details of the NSA domestic spying program were withheld
from Congress and escaped public notice until media reports unearthed them and
the Bush administration now threatens to jail the reporters who broke the story.
I wish I could prove this. I wish one, just one, source on the inside was willing
to come forward and allow his or her name to be used but those who might be
tempted see what happened to Mary McCarthy, the CIA employee fired and under
threat of prosecution for leaking information about CIA torture camps in Europe.
But I know it is happening. People I've known for years and trust tell me it
is happening and the past record of spying, lies and deceit by the Bush administration
point to just such an operation.
This nation is under attack. We, the people, are under attack. And the enemy
in this case is not an Islamic radical hiding in a cave in Afghanistan but a
cabal of truly evil men and women at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and on Capitol
Hill aided by carefully-picked, law-ignoring appointees at the Hoover Building
on Pennsylvania Avenue, a black glass-walled building at Fort Meade, MD, and
a complex in Langley, Virginia.