Austrian filmmaker Friedrich Moser’s “A Good American” was a huge hit at BIFF on Saturday evening at the Boulder High School. The film documents what is called the greatest intelligence disaster in US history. Bill Binney, the best codebreaker in the United States, developed a program, Thin Thread, for the National Security Agency, that he claims could have prevented the devastating 9/11 attacks.
Thin Thread would be a cheaper, more effective alternative to the Trailblazer program, which is what the United States had used for years. Agents at NSA complain of the amount of data they must sift through, while Thin Thread would streamline the threats and not be an attack on the American public’s privacy. Binney, who was present at the screening noted, “We don’t need to trade privacy for adequate security. That has always been a lie.”
The audience was blown away and horrified at the actions of our government. After the attacks, Binney ran the program to see if the NSA database had any foretelling information on the attacks. All of the information was there. This test program found the perpetrators, targets, code names and connections, but none of this information was discovered or relayed.
After this test, the NSA ordered the destruction of the program and all of the data that went with it. Binney and his family were threatened. Agents showed up at his home and demanded all of the data and equipment from Thin Thread. They feared that the release of this information would be too much of an embarrassment for their organization. Thin Thread is now completely dismantled, though it could help prevent countless security threats.
For years, Binney tried to expose this story to the press, to the American people, but there was not any interest. Finally, Moser contacted Binney and they agreed to make “A Good American” to tell the untold story of the USA’s colossal intelligence failure before 9/11.
The film received a standing ovation. In a question and answer session, each person who spoke first thanked Binney for his incredible courage and service to the American public. Binney explained that to stop these failures from the United States government, we need to prosecute those who are committing these unconstitutional felonies, those who are infringing on American’s right to privacy.
Binney remarked, “You can’t give our government this kind of power, because it is too tempting to use, and they will continue to use and abuse it.” The BIFF greatly appreciated Bill Binney’s presence, his contributions to the country, and the incredibly powerful documentary, “A Good American.”