Although The Guardian made the shocking revelation earlier this month that the NSA has been collecting meta data on millions of Americans, it may come as an even bigger surprise who was among those millions. Russ Tice, a former intelligence analyst, alleged in an interview with Sibel Edmonds' Boiling Frogs podcast (launched by former FBI staffer and National Security Whistleblowers Coalition founder Sibel Edmond) that the agency has been spying on some of the most powerful people in the U.S. government.
Approximately 48 minutes into the interview, Tice claimed that among the people his office surveilled was Barack Obama:
"Here's the big one … this was in summer of 2004, one of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with a 40-something-year-old wannabe senator for Illinois… You wouldn't happen to know where that guy lives right now would you? It's a big white house in Washington, D.C. That's who they went after, and that's the president of the United States now."
The whistleblower, who claims to have specialized in surveillance through satellite technology, said, "I literally had my hands on the paperwork for these kinds of things," and, "I was involved in the technology that was going after this stuff."
Tice was employed at various times by the Air Force, Office of Naval Intelligence, and the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was employed by the National Security Agency until 2005, when he exposed unwarranted wiretapping committed by the Bush administration.
In the interview, which took place on Wednesday, Tice described the NSA as " a rogue agency that has J. Edgar Hoover capabilities at a monstrous scale on steroids." Regarding official statements that have been made in recent weeks that the NSA only collects meta data and does not use its authority to target individuals, Tice said, "There is abuse out there… they've gone after journalists and news agencies." He speculated that his own on telephone conversation with the program could be recorded "word for word."
Throughout the interview Tice also asserted that the NSA "went after high ranking military officers, they went after members of Congress, both the Senate and the House, especially the intelligence committees, armed services committees, and judicial," as well as lawyers, anti-war groups, and American businesses and banks that operate internationally.
Tice praised Edward Snowden's exposure of PRISM. He said, Snowden "brought forward information the American people need to know."