The NSA's snooping programs aren't just controversial to the public, it seems: we're reminded other staff at the US agency also objected to prying into Americans' phone records.
A group of executives, led by a senior official, revolted over the surveillance of US citizens – but failed to change President Obama's policy on spying, an Associated Press exclusive claims, citing anonymous NSA employees past and present.
Their main beef was that information collected on innocent Americans did little, if anything, to help catch terrorists abroad, and spying on US soil was beyond the NSA's remit.
This suggests dissent within the agency over mass spying goes much deeper than the defiance shown by whistleblowers Thomas Drake, William Binney and, most recently, Edward Snowden. The last of the trio, an ex-agency techie who leaked a shedload of NSA documents to journalists and then fled to Russia, has mentioned a handful of fellow NSAers were also unhappy with the spying programs. Binney said he was not alone either.
And, like Drake and Binney, Snowden claimed he protested to his bosses about the level of spying but was ignored. Agency spokespeople said Snowden filed no such objections.
As well as the aforementioned group of execs rising up in 2009, a codebreaker and longtime employee of the NSA also reportedly buttonholed then-director Keith Alexander to complain about the slurping of citizens' records. Alexander "politely disagreed" with the objections, we're told.
The AP report is music to the ears of critics of the NSA, of course.
Unfortunately, it comes just one day after the US Senate killed off a proposed law that would have restricted some of the NSA's intelligence gathering on Americans. ®