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Thomas Tamm

Thomas Tamm
Born 1952
Education Brown University (1974)
Georgetown University Law Center (1977)
Occupation Attorney
Employer U.S. Department of Justice
Known for Whistleblowing
Awards Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize[1]

Thomas Tamm (born 1952) is a former attorney in the United States Department of Justice Office of Intelligence Policy and Review during the period in 2004 when senior Justice officials fought against the widening scope of warrantless NSA surveillance that consisted of eavesdropping on U.S. citizens. He was an anonymous whistleblower to The New York Times, making the initial disclosure regarding the issue.


  • Background 1
  • Related events in 2012 2
  • Awards 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


A 1974 graduate of Brown University, he is a former attorney in the United States Department of Justice Office of Intelligence Policy and Review.

The New York Times article on December 16, 2005[2][3] exposing the warrantless NSA surveillance for the first time, was based on his initial tip-offs.

Over a year later in 2007, his house was raided by the FBI agents [4] on suspicion of his involvement in leaking the details, but it wasn't until 2008 — online on the 13 December, and then in the December 22, 2008 issue of Newsweek [5] — that his role was confirmed and he began speaking out publicly.[6]

On April 26, 2011, after a lengthy criminal investigation, the Justice Department announced that it would be dropping its investigation of Tamm and would not file charges.[7]

Related events in 2012

On August 22, 2012 The New York Times published an Op-doc in a forum of short documentaries produced by independent filmmakers, was produced by Laura Poitras and entitled, The Program.[8] It is related to the issues of concern to Tamm.

The documentary is preliminary work that will be included in a documentary planned for release in 2013 as the final part of the trilogy. The documentary is based on interviews with William Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency, who also became a whistleblower and described the details of the Stellar Wind project that he helped to design.

Binney states that the program he worked on had been designed for foreign espionage, but in 2001 was converted to spying on citizens in the United States, prompting concerns by him and others that the actions were illegal and unconstitutional, which led to disclosures.

The subject implies that the facility being built at Bluffdale, Utah is a facility that is part of that domestic surveillance, intended for storage of massive amounts of data collected from a broad range of communications that may be mined readily for intelligence without warrants.

Poitras reports in commentary accompanying the video that on October 29, 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding the constitutionality of the amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that were used to authorize the creation of such facilities and justify such actions.


See also


  1. ^ a b "The Ridenhour Truth-Telling Prize". 2009. Retrieved June 4, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts". NYT's Risen & Lichtblau's December 16, 2005 "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts". Retrieved February 18, 2006.  via
  3. ^ Calame, Byron (August 13, 2006). "Eavesdropping and the Election: An Answer on the Question of Timing".  
  4. ^ "Looking For a Leaker".  
  5. ^ Isikoff, Michael (2008-12-13). "The Fed Who Blew the Whistle: Is he a hero or a criminal?". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 2008-12-15. 
  6. ^ Goodman, Amy (16 April 2009). "Whistleblower Defends Decision to Leak Bush Domestic Surveillance Program & Calls for Prosecution of Gov’t Officials and Telecoms".  
  7. ^ Asokan, Shyamantha (April 26, 2011). "No charges for man who leaked surveillance program". The Washington Post. 
  8. ^ Poitras, Laura, The Program, New York Times Op-Docs, August 22, 2012

External links

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