U.S. intelligence analysts eavesdropped on personal calls between Americans overseas and their families back home and monitored the communications of workers with the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations, according to two military linguists involved in U.S. surveillance programs.
The accounts are the most detailed to date to challenge the assertions of President Bush, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden and other administration officials that the government's controversial overseas wiretapping activities have been carefully monitored to prevent abuse and invasion of U.S. citizens' privacy.
Describing the allegations as "extremely disturbing," Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the panel had launched an inquiry and requested records from the Bush administration.
The linguists said that recordings of intimate conversations between citizens and their loved ones were sometimes passed around, out of prurient interest, among analysts at an electronic surveillance facility at Ft. Gordon, Ga.
They also said they were encouraged to continue monitoring calls of aid workers and other personnel stationed in the Middle East even when it was clear the callers had no ties to terrorists or posed any threat to U.S. interests.
LA Times: US Tapped Intimate Calls ...