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Saturday, January 11, 2014

before Edward Snowden

"Where I see it going is toward a totalitarian state," says William Binney. "You've got the NSA doing all this collecting of material on all of its citizens - that's what the SS, the Gestapo, the Stasi, the KGB, and the NKVD did."

Binney is talking about the collection of various forms of personal data on American citizens by the National Security Agency (NSA), where he worked for 30 years before quitting in 2001 from his high-placed post as technical leader for intelligence. A registered Republican for most of his life, Binney volunteered for military service during the Vietnam War, which led to his being hired by the NSA in the early '70s.

In 2002 - long before the revelations of Edward Snowden rocked the world - Binney and several former colleagues went to Congress and the Department of Defense, asking that the NSA be investigated. Not only was the super-secretive agency wasting taxpayer dollars on ineffective programs, they argued, it was broadly violating constitutional guarantees to privacy and due process.