Whistleblower exposed NSA wiretapping because 'this is crazy'
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Wednesday, Dec 17, 2008
The whistleblower who exposed the Bush administration's warrantless
wiretapping program three years ago told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow
on Monday that he was motivated by a sense that "this is
Former Justice Department lawyer Thomas Tamm had remained anonymous
until he spoke to Newsweek's Michael Isikoff for an article last
week. His appearance with Maddow was his first television interview.
Appearing clearly unaccustomed to public speaking, Tamm emotionally
explained, "My entire life, really, was based on trying to
enforce the law ... and I believed that the law was being broken
in the place where I was working."
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Tamm noted that he was not the only one in his office at the
Justice Department who was aware of the wiretapping program, but
he was the only one who stopped and said, "Wait a second.
We assume that what they are doing is illegal? I don't understand
that. Why are we part of that?"
"I just stepped back and said, 'This is crazy,'" Tamm
told Maddow. "This is not what the Department of Justice
is all about. This is not what the Constitution is about."
Tamm would now like to see serious consideration of prosecutions
for these crimes. "It offends me that we feel we're not strong
enough as a country, that our laws are not strong enough, that
our Congress is not strong enough, that our courts are not strong
enough to protect us," he stated. "And I personally
-- I'm a prosecutor ... I think it should be looked at very seriously."
This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast
Dec. 15, 2008.