Fiorina Helped NSA Spy On Americans, Backs CIA Torture Program

(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Carly Fiorina has jumped to the top tier of 2016 GOP Presidential hopefuls, and now the former HP CEO finds herself in the spotlight for admitting she helped the NSA implement a program that spied on Americans. Fiorina also backed the CIA’s torture program in a recent interview.

According to Yahoo News:

“Positioning herself as a steely advocate of aggressive counterterrorism programs, Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina offered a vigorous defense of CIA waterboarding as a tactic that helped “keep our nation safe” in the aftermath of 9/11.

“I believe that all of the evidence is very clear — that waterboarding was used in a very small handful of cases [and] was supervised by medical personnel in every one of those cases,” Fiorina told Yahoo News. “And I also believe that waterboarding was used when there was no other way to get information that was necessary.”

A Senate report last year portrayed waterboarding as “near drownings” that were tantamount to torture and concluded that the agency’s often brutal interrogations produced little actionable intelligence. But Fiorina rejected those conclusions, calling the report “disingenuous” and “a shame” that “undermined the morale of a whole lot of people who dedicated their lives to keeping the country safe.”

The article says Fiorina was quite close with the CIA and other U.S. intelligence outfits.

“Fiorina’s comments came during an interview with Yahoo News in which she discussed a close, if little-known, relationship she maintained with U.S. intelligence agencies during her tenure as CEO of Hewlett-Packard…

Fiorina’s relationship with the U.S. intelligence community dates back to the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, when she got an urgent phone call from then NSA director Michael Hayden asking her to quickly provide his agency with HP computer servers for expanded surveillance.

While he did not tell Fiorina the details, Hayden confirmed to Yahoo News last week that he needed the HP servers so the NSA could implement “Stellar Wind” — the controversial warrantless wiretapping program, including the bulk collection of American citizens’ phone records and emails, that had been secretly ordered by the Bush White House. “Carly, I need stuff and I need it now,” Hayden recalled telling Fiorina.

Fiorina acknowledged she complied with Hayden’s request, redirecting trucks of HP computer servers that were on their way to retail stores from a warehouse in Tennessee to the Washington Beltway, where they were escorted by NSA security to the gates of agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.

“I felt it was my duty to help, and so we did,” Fiorina said. “They were ramping up a whole set of programs and needed a lot of data crunching capability to try and monitor a whole set of threats. …What I knew at the time was our nation had been attacked.”

The article also says Fiorina was appointed by Hayden as a consultant to a prominent intelligence advisory board, with Fiorina subsequently making regular trips to CIA HQ in Langley.

“After Hayden became CIA director in 2006, he named Fiorina as chair of an agency external advisory board consisting of former top intelligence officials, generals and business leaders. In that capacity, she made regular trips to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., including overseeing one specific project requested by Hayden: Provide advice on how the CIA could maintain its undercover espionage mission in a culture of increasing government leaks and demands for greater public accountability and openness.”

>>>Of note: the program Fiorina helped the NSA with, Stellar Wind, is immensely controversial.

Stellar Wind “is the code name of information collected under the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP). The National Security Agency (NSA) program was approved by President George W. Bush shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks and was revealed by Thomas Tamm to The New York Times in 2008. Stellar Wind was a prelude to new legal structures that allowed President Bush and President Barack Obama to reproduce each of those programs and expand their reach.

The program’s activities involved data mining of a large database of the communications of American citizens, including e-mail communications, telephone conversations, financial transactions, and Internet activity.  William Binney, a retired technical leader with the NSA, discussed some of the architectural and operational elements of the program at the 2012 Chaos Communication Congress.