In a long an detailed article in the New Yorker, Jame Mayer recounts the background of an interview she had with Thomas Drake, former senior executive at the National Security Agency. Drake now faces serious charges under the espionage acts for revealing the extent to which the NSA has been breaking US law and performing surveillance on the the whole world, as well as American Citizens without any form of warrant.
In the weeks after the attacks, rumors began circulating inside the N.S.A. that the agency, with the approval of the Bush White House, was violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act—the 1978 law, known as FISA, that bars domestic surveillance without a warrant. Years later, the rumors were proved correct. In nearly total secrecy, and under pressure from the White House, Hayden sanctioned warrantless domestic surveillance. The new policy, which lawyers in the Justice Department justified by citing President Bush’s executive authority as Commander-in-Chief, contravened a century of constitutional case law. Yet, on October 4, 2001, Bush authorized the policy, and it became operational by October 6th.