High irony, indeed, that a documentary titled “A GOOD AMERICAN” would find it so difficult to appear before a good American audience. Could someone be hiding something?
The film shows how malfeasance by the National Security Agency played a huge role in failing to prevent 9/11 and how NSA succeeded in covering that up. That’s right; NSA had enough specific intelligence to prevent 9/11. Ultimately, that is the main reason why most Americans have been kept in the dark about “A Good American” since this documentary by Austrian filmmaker Friedrich Moser was released almost three years ago.
Former NSA Technical Director Bill Binney, ‘a Good American,’ resigned from the NSA in October 2001, after 30 years with the agency where he was widely acknowledged as one of its best mathematicians, innovators, and problem solvers. Binney quit when he saw Bush, Cheney, and the NSA director had chosen to respond to new challenges on electronic communications by adopting illegal, indiscriminate mass-surveillance programs. These programs not only clearly violated the 4thamendment, but also left the country still more vulnerable to terrorists while diverting billions to private contractors with political connections.
After his resignation, Binney, and colleagues who had worked with him, faced retaliation from the NSA, including guns-drawn dawn raids at their homes in 2007.
Binney continues to be an articulate, deeply knowledgeable critic of unconstitutional mass electronic surveillance, refusing to be intimidated by the NSA despite the risks.
Film director Freidrich Moser tells Binney’s story from his early days as an intelligence analyst during the Vietnam War to his service as a code breaker during the Cold War to his visionary, groundbreaking creation of a program for conducting effective electronic surveillance consonant with the 4th amendment and rule of law.
Binney and his fellow whistleblowers tell the story of how Michael Hayden, then head of the NSA, sidelined their demonstrably effective collection program in favor of a multibillion-dollar boondoggle called Trailblazer, which Binney and his team warned would never work. They were proved correct, but only after contractors burned through a few billion dollars.
Oliver Stone called “A Good American” a “prequel to his own film Snowden,” and that’s true in more ways than one. Snowden cited the persecution of Binney and his colleagues as a warning that if he did not go directly to the media, his attempt to expose what he called “turnkey tyranny” would be thwarted.
Live-streamed into the hall in Berlin, where Binney was given the 2015 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, Snowden made it very clear, saying, “Without Bill Binney, there would be no Ed Snowden.”