What Does The NSA Know About Obama?


National Security Agency (NSA) veterans Bill Binney, Russ Tice, and Kirk Wiebe spoke at a Friday news conference at the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C., with Tice declaring that the spy agency monitored Barack Obama’s telephone conversations—and those of his wife—in 2004, apparently as a result of Obama’s run for the U.S. Senate and emergence as a major figure in the Democratic Party. This should have been big news. However, the claim was ignored or dismissed by most of the major media.

A major exception was NBC News, which posted a clip from the press conference and an item noting that “Former NSA analyst Russ Tice says that, during his tenure, the NSA had a program that spied on phone and email messages of Congress, the Supreme Court, reporters, military and an up-and-coming politician named Barack Obama.” These are sensational charges.

Jeff Mason of Reuters interviewed Tice about Obama’s proposed “reforms” of the agency, but didn’t include any comments on the agency’s alleged surveillance of Obama.

Why would the NSA watch Obama? Could it have something to do with his communist and foreign connections?

Tice, who says he supported Obama for president even though he had been a conservative Republican, told Russia Today (RT) television that “…a high-level person at NSA told me this was being directed from the vice president’s office. That would be Vice-President Dick Cheney. I don’t know that for sure, but that’s what I was told from a very senior person at NSA.” Tice also told the Moscow-funded propaganda channel that Obama may somehow be “controlled” as President as a result of its surveillance of him.

Tice cannot be dismissed completely as a nut by the Left, since he was one of the sources used in The New York Times’ reporting in December 2005 on domestic surveillance activity. The media have treated him as credible in the past. His affiliations reportedly include his roles as a former intelligence analyst for the U.S. Air Force, Office of Naval Intelligence, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. Jesselyn Radack, an associate of NSA leaker Edward Snowden, has defended Tice as a “whistleblower”; and Tice is featured on the site of the National Whistleblowers Center.

Tice said at the January 17 National Press Club news conference that he had “in my hand,” during his work for the NSA, the telephone numbers for Barack Obama and his wife, but that the documents were destroyed. “I had numerous phone numbers. I assume his wife’s number was there as well,” he said. “I don’t know what they did with it. I know that they were recording his phone conversations, and then they were storing the information.”

asked him about the possible grounds for NSA surveillance of Obama, such as his association in Hawaii with Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis, who was on the FBI’s security index. Tice seemed unfamiliar with Davis. I also asked about Obama’s association with communist terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who helped launch Obama’s political career in Chicago. That meeting was set up by Illinois State Senator Alice Palmer, who had traveled to the Soviet Union and came back praising Soviet-style communism.

Tice ridiculed the idea that there were any legitimate grounds on which to monitor or investigate Obama. At the same time, he said the agency may have been seeking something they could “use against him in the future.” He wasn’t clear as to whether or not he meant they were seeking something specific. Is there something Obama is hiding?

If the interest was communism, Tice said, then why were so many other people, including admirals, members of congress, and Supreme Court justices, under surveillance? Of course, we have to take his word that all of these people were under surveillance because he said the documentation for all of this was destroyed when he worked for the NSA.

The answer may lie in Obama’s NSA reform speech, in which the President admitted that foreign intelligence agencies may be trying to monitor his conversations. He said, “There is a reason why BlackBerrys and iPhones are not allowed in the White House Situation Room. We know that the intelligence services of other countries—including some who feign surprise over the Snowden disclosures—are constantly probing our government and private sector networks, and accelerating programs to listen to our conversations, and intercept our emails, and compromise our systems. We know that.”

So is it possible that the NSA is conducting some monitoring for the purpose of determining which foreign intelligence agencies have themselves conducted surveillance of U.S. citizens, in order to compromise or recruit them? That would make complete sense.

Tice, an analyst, may not have been in a high enough position to know or understand this. His speculation about then-Vice President Cheney ordering the surveillance is just that—speculation. And it may stem from his announced preference for Obama as president. But the guidelines under which the NSA operates stipulate that investigating an American political figure for connections to foreign terrorists and regimes is permitted and justified. Similarly, the NSA would be derelict if it did not attempt to follow what foreign regimes and movements are trying to do here as well.

While Frank Marshall Davis was under surveillance for 19 years, he may have engaged in espionage for the Soviet Union. Obama covered up Davis’s real identity when he ran for president. Although Obama publicly claimed that he regarded Ayers and Dohrn as just neighbors and respected academics, declassified intelligence in the Weather Underground case shows that Ayers, Dohrn, and their comrades had connections to the Soviet KGB, the Cuban intelligence service, and the DGI, in addition to their terrorist ties.

We addressed the matter of domestic surveillance in a column on Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), asking the same kinds of questions about NSA activities. Sanders seemed shocked that anything like this was being done. The fact is that Sanders’ extensive affiliations with Soviet front groups were more than enough to justify NSA surveillance of this senator. Other senators may have been monitored because of a massive communist spy effort on Capitol Hill.

Tice ridicules the idea of the NSA monitoring “commies” on Capitol Hill. But that should be one of the legitimate functions of the NSA. After all, the NSA’s Venona project deciphered Soviet communications with agents in the U.S., including the federal government. This effort disclosed traitors and spies. However, only Obama could order the declassification of any documents in the possession of the U.S. intelligence community about his own foreign and communist connections.

We are not holding our breath.

We also don’t expect the Institute for Public Accuracy, which sponsored the news conference, to do a follow-up on this mystery. The group is funded by left-wing foundations associated with such figures as Barbra Streisand. She endorsed Obama for president in 2012, calling him a “good man” and praising Obamacare.


This commentary originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission. 

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  1. Wiseoldlady says:

    This all seems like a nightmare out of a sick movie.

  2. It's more than time the Military should remove this illegal allien from White House!…

  3. MuslimLuvChrist says:

    Remember when Analysis Corporation (AC now Sotera Defense Solutions) had breached Obama’s passport file. John Brennan, then advisor on intelligence and foreign policy to Obama, headed AC. We were told that AC was a State Department contractor. This was only partially true. AC was a database-crunching company focusing on national security and counterterrorism and thus worked for virtually every government entity with a connection to U.S. intelligence: CIA, FBI, DHS, NSA, etc. The AC was staffed by former government agents, which was why Brennan, who had been the former second-in-command at the CIA, ran the company. It has been theorized that the 2008 breach of Obama’s records was not in fact simply mischief by an employee, but was a cover to purge Obama’s file of any reference to foreign citizenship. What if in fact Brennan, as head of AC and obviously with access to Obama’s records, breached his file not to cover for him, but to blackmail him? When Brennan looked at Obama’s passport, his Social Security file, and possibly his birth certificate in early 2008, what exactly did he see? Something that America would find deeply disturbing? Something that would disqualify Obama from being President like the fact that Obama probably became an Indonesian citizen when his mother married Lolo Soetoro, as evidenced by Obama’s grammar school records, indicating that he was a Muslim Indonesian with the legal name of Barry Soetoro? Is Brennan using this information to force Obama to make him CIA chief? What exactly does Brennan gain by becoming the CIA chief? Not simply becoming the head of our spy agency. This would give him access to virtually all electronic communications: phone, email, text, video—everything—access to a database that has been in the works for years, covering every single American—an Orwellian database that was revealed by a former whistleblower in July of 2012. We also know a wide-scale domestic drone program is coming. The DHS has branded it for “public safety.” Who will be in charge of this “public safety” drone program? Probably the person with the most experience with drones: Brennan. With access to every piece of information on every American, able to dispatch a drone to spy on and and kill anyone at any time, he will be the most powerful person in the United States. Brennan, dictator, brought to power all because Obama wants to keep his records secret. Based on the history of such an immoral man, we will never get the answer unless Obackstabber and key members of the NSA are water-boarded or some honest people that are not under polygraph tests come forward like Gates, but then their lives are destroyed by Obama Chicago style politics, just ask Breitbart who was going to properly vet Obhustler before the 2012 election, and what did he get, death! Society is to blame for this: if you’re caught lying, you are not immediately cast aside for not being trustworthy in the US anymore. In a complete reversal, you are now judged in the US by your ability to tell a lie and get away with it. The nature of the lie and whether or not it will have a lingering impact, positive or negative, is all that matters now. If you can tell a lie and withstand the potential short-term backlash in order to accomplish your long term goal, then it’s a lie worth telling. No one knows this better than the current occupant of the oval office.

  4. Edwardkoziol says:

    Sure they know a lot about Stymie but who is going to rat him out unless we can find another Snowden.

  5. obama knew peter ayers, back when he was a teenager in hawaii, I believe obama and bill ayers were both serving on the annenburg board of directors. They have a past and they knew each other before obama ran for office.

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