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NSA Whistleblower From Md. Gives His Take On The President’s Speech

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The investigation into the controversial NSA surveillance program continues.

Mike Hellgren hears first-hand what a Maryland whistleblower thinks of the president’s proposals.

He’s glad the president is saying and doing something, but he does not believe these proposals go far enough.

WJZ first brought you the story of NSA whistleblower William Binney in an investigation last November.

Binney worked on top secret projects, including building a computer program that constantly scanned cell phones, searching for signs of terrorist activity.

He worked to expose the agency’s extensive surveillance on every day Americans, resulting in an FBI raid on his home in Maryland that he vividly detailed in our report.

“Pushed their way in with their guns drawn and pushed my son out of the way and came upstairs and pointed guns at my wife and me,” said Binney.

Friday, WJZ was with Binney in Washington as he watched the president’s speech. After being a vocal critic of past policy, he called Mr. Obama’s words Friday morning promising.

“I think he’s open to changes that would be effective. I don’t think he’s quite clear yet on how to do it,” Binney said. “They were doing it in kind of a closed door situation. This seems, to me, to be opening that up.”

Related Story: Obama Backs Limits On NSA Phone Collections

Binney believes the president can strike the right balance between protection and privacy, and he says the president can do it quickly.

“I don’t think years is the issue. I think we could really pretty much do this within a year,” said Binney. “These people are going on false information and making bad decisions based on that. That’s the problem here. That needs to stop.”

He says any solution must involve not only the president, but also the courts and Congress.

“I mean, there are ways to do targeted collection,” Binney said. “Here, we’re letting a few thousand terrorists scare us to the point that we destroy our own democracy.”

Binney believes the current NSA surveillance program is unconstitutional.

WJZ will continue to closely follow developments in the NSA surveillance program.

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