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Friday, January 06, 2006
  Clinton, King Of Presidential Abuse, Used Illegal Spying on Republicans
During the 1990's under President Bill Clinton, the National Security Agency conducted telecommunications surveillance of millions of phone calls daily under a top secret program known as project Echelon.

But according to at least two people familiar with the spy operation at the time, some of the surveillance was far from indiscriminate.

In a February 2000 interview with CBS's "60 Minutes," NSA operator Margaret Newsham revealed that the agency's listening post in Great Britain was involved in monitoring the phone calls of at least one top Republican on Capitol Hill.

"I walked into the office building and a friend said, 'Come over here and listen to--to this thing.' And he had headphones on, so I took the headphones and I listened to it, and I looked at him and said, 'That's an American.' . . .

Ms. Newsham remembered, "It was definitely an American voice, and it was a voice that was distinct. And I said, 'Well, who is that?'

"And he said it was Senator Strom Thurmond."

Until his retirement from the Senate in 2002, Thurmond was a frequent critic of the Clinton administration, who played a leading role in the 1998 impeachment drama - though there's no known connection to the decision to wiretap the South Carolina conservative.

During the same program, however, Kroft consulted with Mike Frost, who worked for Canada's version of the NSA for 20-years.

Asked if it was commonplace for the NSA to monitor the phone calls of top U.S. politicians, Frost told CBS: "Of course it goes on. Been going on for years. Of course it goes on. That's the way it works."
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