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Fed Leaked Info to the Press About the NSA Eavesdropping On Private U.S. Citizens

Depending on  your perspective, Thomas M. Tamm is a hero who exposed some wrongdoing at the highest levels of government. Or he’s a traitor who tried to undermine the war on terrorism. Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff presents a fascinating tale.

By Michael Isikoff
Newsweek
WASHINGTON — Thomas M. Tamm was entrusted with some of the government’s most important secrets. He had a Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance, a level above Top Secret. Government agents had probed Tamm’s background, his friends and associates, and determined him trustworthy.
It’s easy to see why: he comes from a family of high-ranking FBI officials. During his childhood, he played under the desk of J. Edgar Hoover, and as an adult, he enjoyed a long and successful career as a prosecutor. Now gray-haired, 56 and fighting a paunch, Tamm prides himself on his personal rectitude. He has what his 23-year-old son, Terry, calls a “passion for justice.” For that reason, there was one secret he says he felt duty-bound to reveal.
In the spring of 2004, Tamm had just finished a yearlong stint at a Justice Department unit handling wiretaps of suspected terrorists and spies-a unit so sensitive that employees are required to put their hands through a biometric scanner to check their fingerprints upon entering. While there, Tamm stumbled upon the existence of a highly classified National Security Agency program that seemed to be eavesdropping on U.S. citizens.
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Comment from DOJ 1
Time December 16, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Mr. Tamm must go to prison, and shame on Newsweek’s effort to induce sympathy for his clearly illegal conduct–which criminality he plainly admits, claiming only that his motives were pure (by his self-appointed standards, of course). It’s not his place to decide; he’s no novice; and his deliberation and choice to break the law quickly (except among the unthinking) silence the heartstrings Newsweek sought to pluck. The article’s failure to analytically study the consequences of allowing persons like Tamm to evade responsibility for base self-centeredness, especially when ample whistle-blower protections exist when proper procedures are followed, reflects the publication’s well-known bias. When selling magazines and creating artificial levels of controversy dominate advancing the concept of ordered liberty, you know you’re in 21st Century America. Tamm and Newsweek suffer from the same conceit.

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