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FLASHBACK: In 2006, Bill O’Reilly Called NSA Whistleblower Russell Tice ‘Disgraceful’

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FLASHBACK: In 2006, Bill O’Reilly Called NSA Whistleblower Russell Tice ‘Disgraceful’


Former intelligence analyst Russell Tice was one of the the sources for the December 2005 New York Times exposé of warrantless National Security Agency (NSA) wiretapping that was taking place under the Bush administration — a story that the paper held until after the 2004 election.

When Tice wouldn’t appear on The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly had a producer track Tice down. When the whistleblower refused to comment, O’Reilly called him “disgraceful.”

O’Reilly’s animus toward Tice was matched by Fox host Sean Hannity, who called Democrats weak on defense for opposing NSA surveillance, which he now opposes under President Obama.

The hostility toward Tice from the right-wing media was so intense that the former NSA employee waited before Bush was out of office before he revealed his most shocking allegation on Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC show:

The things that I specifically was involved with were more on the high-tech side. And try to envision, you know, the dragnets are out there, collecting all the fish and then ferreting out what they may. And my technical angle was to try to harpoon fish from an airplane kind of thing. So it’s two separate worlds.

But in the world that I was in, as to not harpoon the wrong people in some — in one of the operations that I was in, we looked at organizations just supposedly so that we would not target them. So that we knew where they were, so as not to have a problem with them.

Now, what I was finding out, though, is that the collection on those organizations was 24/7, and you know, 365 days a year, and it made no sense. And that’s — I started to investigate that. That’s about the time when they came after me, to fire me. But an organization that was [sic] collected on were U.S. news organizations and reporters and journalists.

Bush’s NSA was acting completely outside the law until the law was revised to put it under the supervision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the cooperating telecom companies were granted immunity.

Tice isn’t comforted by the inclusion of the court in the process. “They’ve had tens of thousands of requests and turned down maybe six at most,” he said.

In 2007, a FISA court judge wanted to share one of his rulings with Congress but was blocked by the Bush administration. Congress has since voted to keep such rulings secret but President Obama is reportedly considering the “primary order” that allows the NSA to track information about millions of Americans.



H/T: Alexis Ohanian


  1. Sand_Cat June 17, 2013

    Nice how the Times held the story until after the election: after all, we wouldn’t want evidence of government malfeasance to affect the election results, would we?

    1. angelsinca June 18, 2013

      Kind of like the deliberate exclusion of critical negative jobs data not being released for Oct 2012 until after the Nov election. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    2. FT66 June 18, 2013

      Mr. Cat, you are always obsessed how you lost election, BUT you were not smart enough to think how you can win it and make it happen. I would urge you not to waste your time and others. You lost the election because of your negligence, and you can not do anything about it as per now. Please get over it and try to move on! This is the only option you can take!

  2. Dominick Vila June 18, 2013

    What! Do you mean to tell me that there were unreported “scandals” when W was in office? No, please tell me this isn’t true!

    1. Allan Richardson June 18, 2013

      The Iran Contra scandal came out two weeks AFTER the Reagan/Bush team was re-elected. Maybe it didn’t make any difference; maybe Mondale/Ferraro would not have gotten enough votes from “shocked” and “disillusioned” Reagan fans finding out about his malfeasance in office, but they should have been informed before voting anyway.

      The part of Iran Contra that DIDN’T come out, and which the evidence needed to PROVE has been hidden ever since, but certainly LOOKS suspicious, is the pre-election contact in 1980 between the future Vice President’s friends and the Iranian government, in which Iran PROMISED TO SABOTAGE Carter’s hostage negotiations and thus help Reagan defeat him, in exchange for arms that Reagan WOULD sell to Iran, secretly, after taking office. Or it was just another COINCIDENCE that Iran freed our people while Reagan’s inauguration was in progress, and then Reagan just “happened” to sell them arms illegally later!

      So don’t tell me Democrats are the only ones that hide “scandals” until after being re-elected. Oh, and that jump in unemployment? INTELLIGENT voters understood that the general trend was unemployment going down since the change of Presidents in 2009, and that it would have gone down FASTER if not for Republican obstruction, so a one month deviation from a trend would not have made ANY Obama voters vote for Romney, knowing what HIS program would be.

  3. FT66 June 18, 2013

    It is really annoying to see the people who were defending “W” in whatever he did to protect people, now they are attacking someone who is more or less doing the same. Are Fox News playing in the way people think? Good that the video is the evidence what Bill O’Reilly said then in comparison to what he is saying now. During “W” era he was talking to the same people he is talking to now with a different language. And still people call this “journalism” or whatever? Boy! we are heading to a bad place.

  4. stcroixcarp June 18, 2013

    The job of intelligence gathering agencies is to gather secret information by whatever means necessary. Because they operate in secret, they become unaccountable to anyone, including the POTUS. and morph into a life of their own. The scandal isn’t that the NSA and CIA are doing the job which taxpayers pay for, the scandal is that we the people gave them the authority to do so in the Patriot Act. Osama Bin Laden won. The bombing of the World Trade Center worked. Our fear caused us to react by destroying democracy.

    1. FT66 June 18, 2013

      Mmmmmmmh! my friend, how can you practice your democracy while you know today or tomorrow or the day after you will be dead. If you do not fear anything, you end up dying as simple as that. It is only fear which make us take precautions. If you do not do so, you get perished even neither yourself nor people around you notice what went wrong.

  5. mah101 June 18, 2013

    Meh… this level of hypocrisy has long been what I’ve come to expect. Honestly, this is now so common as to be in the “dog bites man” category of news.

    What WOULD be news (and welcome news at that) would be for the loudmouths on the right to say they were wrong then to support such policies and to condemn those who opened our eyes to they illegal activities of the Bush administration. I’m not holding my breath… introspection is not a demonstrated trait of the right wing blowhards.

  6. DurdyDawg June 28, 2013

    Double standards.. That’s the GOPs by product and it continues to play down while in other arenas, heating up to the boiling point. Two wrongs do not make a right, we know this.. But when it’s directed at only one wrong there’s something un-moralistic about it.


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