Ex-NSA Head Bobby Ray Inman on the National Security Agency’s Domestic Surveillance Program: "This Activity Was Not Authorized"
Admiral Bobby Ray Inman has become the highest-ranking former NSA official to speak out about the domestic spy program. "There clearly was a line in the FISA statutes which says you couldn’t do this," said Inman last week in remarks that have received little attention. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: Last week, Admiral Bobby Ray Inman, who headed the NSA from 1977 to 1981, spoke in New York at a forum sponsored by the New York Public Library and the Century Foundation. It was part of the library’s "Live at the NYPL" series. Besides an article at the website wirednews, Inman’s statements have received almost no media attention, even though he’s believed to be the highest ranking former NSA official to speak out about the program. At the forum, he disputed the Bush administration’s claim that Congress authorized the secret spy program when it authorized the President to use force following the September 11th attacks. Inman also said the program clearly contradicts the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress passed in 1978, at the time he was head of the National Security Agency.
BOBBY RAY INMAN: My own view, this activity was not authorized by a resolution to use whatever force you need to do. There clearly was a line in the FISA statutes, which says you couldn’t do this.
AMY GOODMAN: Former NSA Director Bobby Ray Inman also said Congress should consider rewriting the FISA Act to account for changes in technology, but to prevent the administration from continuing to do what it’s doing.
BOBBY RAY INMAN: In carefully crafting legislation, you should leave the prospect of an emergency situation and a limited response to that emergency situation to then be followed by getting it by, because we — just as I didn’t envision in 1978 some of the things that popped up, that might happen again. What you want is to get away from this idea that they can continue doing it.
AMY GOODMAN: Bobby Ray Inman served as head of the NSA in the late 1970s.