Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence

William Binney

binneyKnow all ye by these presents that William Binney is hereby honored with the traditional Sam Adams Corner-Brightener Candlestick Holder, in symbolic recognition of Mr. Binney’s courage in shining light into dark places.

Bill Binney represents the patriotic side of a duel between two unequal adversaries: an exceedingly powerful and ruthless state and Bill, an official who would not break his solemn oath to defend its Constitution. Like Tom Drake and Ed Snowden, he was determined to preserve his integrity, his privacy, and his personal honor.

On both sides of the Atlantic we hear the mantra: “After 9/11/2001 EVERYTHING CHANGED;” just like “everything changed” after the burning of the Reichstag on 2/27/1933. That event led many Germans into what the writer Sebastian Haffner called “sheepish submissiveness” — with disastrous consequences.

As a young German lawyer in Berlin at the time, Haffner wrote in his diary one day after the Reichstag fire that Germans had suffered a nervous breakdown. “No one saw anything out of the ordinary in the fact that, from now on, one’s telephone would be tapped, one’s letters opened, and one’s desk might be broken into.”

What was missing, wrote Haffner, was “a solid inner kernel that cannot be shaken by external pressures and forces, something noble and steely, a reserve of pride, principle, and dignity to be drawn on in the hour or trial.”

We are grateful that these traits were NOT missing in Bill Binney. Nor were they missing in Edward Snowden, whose patriotic risk-taking opened the way for Bill and his colleagues to expose the collect-it-all fanatics and the damage they do to privacy everywhere.

What Ed Snowden called “turnkey tyranny” can still be prevented. But this can only happen, if patriots like Bill Binney can jolt enough people out of “sheepish submissiveness.” Goethe understood this 200 years ago when he warned, “No one is more a slave than he who thinks himself free, but is not.”

“Niemand ist mehr Sklave, als der sich für frei hält, ohne es zu sein*.

Presented this 22nd day of January 2015 in Berlin by admirers of the example set by the late CIA analyst, Sam Adams.

Related Articles

The Courage from Whistle-blowing

Exclusive: Courage, like cowardice, can grow when an action by one person influences decisions by others, either toward bravery or fear. Thus, the gutsy whistle-blowing by some NSA officials inspired Edward Snowden to expose mass data collection on all Americans, recalls ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

By Ray McGovern

When Edward Snowden in early June 2013 began to reveal classified data showing criminal collect-it-all surveillance programs operated by the U.S. government’s National Security Agency, former NSA professionals became freer to spell out the liberties taken with the Bill of Rights, as well as the feckless, counterproductive nature of bulk electronic data collection.

On Jan. 7, 2014, four senior retired specialists with a cumulative total of 144 years of work with NSA – William Binney, Thomas Drake, Edward Loomis, and Kirk Wiebe – prepared a Memorandum for the President providing a comprehensive account of the problems at NSA, together with suggestions as to how they might be best addressed.

The purpose was to inform President Obama as fully as possible, as he prepared to take action in light of Snowden’s revelations.

On Jan. 23, 2015 in Berlin, Binney was honored with the annual Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. Ed Snowden was live-streamed-in for the occasion, and said, “Without Bill Binney there would be no Ed Snowden.” (Binney had been among the first to speak out publicly about NSA abuses; apparently that emboldened Snowden to do what he did.)

Snowden had already said when he fled to Hong Kong in June 2013 that he had learned an extremely important lesson from the four years of government persecution/prosecution of Tom Drake; namely, that he, Ed Snowden, had to leave the country in order to fulfill his mission – and to have some reasonable chance to avoid spending the rest of his life behind bars. (Eventually, all the felony charges against Drake were dismissed.)

An important take-away lesson from Binney’s and Drake’s boldness and tenacity is that one never knows what impetus courageous truth-tellers can give to other, potential whistleblowers – like Ed Snowden.

(full article here)

Should ‘He’ Flee? Whistleblowers Worry for New Drone Leaker

A notable leak to the press could result in prosecution.

Former U.S. drone operator Brandon Bryant, pictured, testified before a German parliamentary committee Thursday in Berlin. The Intercept did not say who provided the publication with classified documents on drone warfare.

National security whistleblowers and their supporters say whoever leaked a batch of classified documents about the U.S. government’s drone warfare efforts to The Intercept should brace for the fury of federal prosecutors.

The Intercept says articles it published Thursday are based on classified slides from 2011 through 2013 provided by an unnamed source who opposes the U.S. policy of using drones to assassinate suspected terrorists. Exiled whistleblower Edward Snowden worked as a government contractor until 2013, but the source of the drone documents is described as new by Intercept journalists.

The person or persons responsible for the leak — identified with a singular “he” in one of the news publication’s articles — could face decades behind bars if charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917, which bars defendants from telling jurors why they disclosed classified information.

The Espionage Act is a popular tool for Obama administration prosecutors, who have used the law in more prosecutions of journalist sources than all previous administrations combined.

“If they’ve shared documents like Edward Snowden, then they will come at them with the Espionage Act for sure if they’re classified,” says retired National Security Agency analyst William Binney.

Binney and other NSA veterans raised concern through official channels about privacy and waste at the NSA. Their homes later were raided by the FBI and a fellow critic then still with the NSA, Thomas Drake, was prosecuted for allegedly violating the Espionage Act in a case that fell apart before trial.

Drake ultimately pleaded guilty in 2011 to exceeding authorized use of an agency computer, a misdemeanor. Drake and Binney have supported Snowden’s decision to flee the country before journalists published his documents exposing mass surveillance, citing their own experiences.

Snowden himself cited their years-long struggle as a reason he relocated first to Hong Kong and then Russia — where he was stranded en route to Latin America when the State Department canceled his passport — rather than stay in the U.S.

(Click for full article on US News and World Report)

VIDEO: Exclusive Interview with former NSA-Technical Director: William Binney

In this video acTVism Munich interviews William Binney to talk about his experience at the National Security Agency (NSA) where worked for circa 36 years and how he uncovered fraud, crime and corruption at the agency. Other issues that are discussed in detail include the role & significance of whistleblowers in society, scope & capacity of the US intelligence state and solutions that the government as well as the individual can employ to reform the NSA.


NSA Scandal: Code Red – Why Privacy?

In this video acTVism Munich brings into light what privacy means for the indivdual and society, i.e, why it is an essential ingredient for democracy & economy. Following high-profile whistleblowers provide their views on the issue of privacy in this video:

William Binney: Former highly placed intelligence official with the United States National Security Agency (NSA) turned whistleblower who resigned on October 31, 2001, after more than 30 years with the agency.

Thomas Andrews Drake: Former senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), a decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran, and a whistleblower.

Annie Machon: Former MI5 intelligence officer who left the Service at the same time as David Shayler, her partner at the time, to help him blow the whistle about alleged criminality within the intelligence agencies.

Simon Davies: A privacy advocate and academic based in London UK. He was one of the first campaigners in the field of international privacy advocacy, founding the watchdog organization Privacy International in 1990 and subsequently working in emerging areas of privacy such as electronic visual surveillance, identity systems, border security, encryption policy and biometrics.

Elizabeth Murray: Served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council before retiring after a 27-year career in the U.S. government. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Caroline Hunt: A United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) whistleblower.

In late 2014, a group of the world’s most renowned privacy activists, whistleblowers, technologists and legal experts joined forces to work on the development of a global initiative to fight surveillance.

Led by privacy veteran Simon Davies and former MI5 intelligence officer Annie Machon, the project has developed into the Code Red initiative. Its aim is to create the next evolutionary step in the growing movement to curb excessive government power.

The project will build bridges between the technology, media, legal and policy worlds and will become a strategic hub for the many activists working in this arena. Code Red will also create a clearing house for information in the anti-surveillance movement and will support whistleblowers and sources.

For more visit: and

Event Honors Bill Binney

(Report below from Ray McGovern)
The occasion was the annual meeting of the Academy of Philosophy and Letters, June 13, 2015, at the BWI Doubletree Hotel — oddly, surrounded by NSA buildings in Linthicum, MD.

The evening program was hosted by John Henry, of the Committee for the Republic.

The topic was: “The National Security Agency’s War on the U.S. Constitution”
Speakers: William Binney, Kirk Wiebe, Thomas Drake, James Bamford, Bruce Fein, John Henry, and Ray McGovern

The Committee for the Republic was pleased to afford an appropriate occasion for William Binney to receive the framed citation (in English and German) for the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. The award was originally presented to Binney at an SRO ceremony in Berlin on January 22, 2015.

Ed Snowden, who was live-streamed into that Berlin ceremony, emphasized that “Without Bill Binney there would be no Ed Snowden.” Bill, in turn, had been greatly encouraged by the courageous, principled stand taken by Tom Drake in facing down the U.S. Department of Justice and NSA successfully, after four years of persecution that included government-provided “evidence” proven in Court to have been forged.

Actually, in a very real sense, it was a triple-play: Drake to Binney to Snowden. So it was altogether appropriate that Tom Drake be the Sam Adams Associate to present the framed award to Bill Binney on June 13, 2015 in the belly of the (NSA) beast.

Tom also had been the clear choice of his colleague Sam Adams Associates to present the 2013 award for integrity in intelligence to Ed Snowden in Moscow on October 7, 2013. As soon as Ed surfaced in Hong Kong, he made it clear that the U.S. government abuse of Tom had convinced Ed that he had to leave the U.S. in order to achieve his mission and have some chance — however slight it seemed at the time — of avoiding spending the rest of his life in prison.

Hats off to Drake to Binney to Snowden: courageous patriots all!