EAVESDROPPING ON BLAIR…. And to think, some of us nervous nellies were concerned that the NSA might abuse its surveillance powers and listen in on communications it shouldn’t have.
A former communications intercept operator says U.S. intelligence snooped on the private lives of two of America’s most important allies in fighting al Qaeda: British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Iraq’s first interim president, Ghazi al-Yawer.
David Murfee Faulk told ABCNews.com he saw and read a file on Blair’s “private life” and heard “pillow talk” phone calls of al-Yawer when he worked as an Army Arab linguist assigned to a secret NSA facility at Fort Gordon, Georgia between 2003 and 2007.
Last month, Faulk and another former military intercept operator assigned to the NSA facility triggered calls for an investigation when they revealed U.S. intelligence intercepted the private phone calls of American journalists, aid workers and soldiers stationed in Iraq.
Faulk says his top secret clearance at Ft. Gordon gave him access to an intelligence data base, called “Anchory,” where he says he saw the file on then-British prime minister Tony Blair in 2006.
Faulk declined to provide details other than to say it contained information of a personal nature.
Surveillance on foreign heads of state is not especially uncommon, but as Zachary Roth reminds us, “the U.S. and Britain have pledged not to collect information covertly on each other.”
What’s more, this is the second report in as many months about wiretap abuses — ABC News also reported in early October that NSA officials had listened in on calls made by U.S. troops stationed in Iraq, American journalists, and American aid workers overseas.
ABC noted today that the Senate Intelligence and Judiciary Committees are already investigating allegations on surveillance abuse. Perhaps it’s time to widen the scope of the questions.