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Edward Snowden, familiar name? How about William Binney and Kirk Wiebe? They were NSA whistleblowers pre-9/11. They developed the $3 million information processing system, ThinThread, that could have prevented the 9/11 attack on America. The NSA bigwigs preferred Trailblazer. Trailblazer took from ThinThread certain features, but not its protections for our rights/liberties. Trailblazer, despite costing billions, failed to detect the 9/11 attack and was canceled in 2006.
Binney/Wiebe went before Congress/Department of Defense concerning Trailblazer. They were ignored, demoted, and after retirement, black-balled.
Fast-Forward to May 2013 when Snowden leaked NSA documents exposing the massive surveillance and government secrecy surrounding the collection of American citizenry's data. NSA is seizing millions of phone records, emails, text messages, and Internet data from Americans. Telephone and Internet companies were ordered to give NSA access to their information in violation of Fourth Amendment rights.
Initially NSA reported that it foiled 50 terrorist plots, but that number evaporated after examination. Interestingly, NSA never flagged the Boston Bombers as terrorists. They missed the phone calls, Internet chatter, and international flights, while ignoring alerts from Russia.
Recently, came Snowden's nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize for disclosing NSA's worldwide spying activities. Snowden, unlike Binney/Wiebe, sidestepped the "proper channels" to alert Americans of NSA's disregard of our constitutional rights.
Thanks, Edward Snowden.