For 20 years, Tice worked in the shadows as he helped the United States spy on other people's conversations around the world.No Such Agency isn't going to be too happy about his allegations, and neither will senior administration officials. I suspect he speaks the truth.
I specialized in what's called special access programs," Tice said of his job. "We called them 'black world' programs and operations."
But now, Tice tells ABC News that some of those secret "black world" operations run by the NSA were operated in ways that he believes violated the law. He is prepared to tell Congress all he knows about the alleged wrongdoing in these programs run by the Defense Department and the NSA in the post-9/11 efforts to go after terrorists.
"The mentality was we need to get these guys, and we're going to do whatever it takes to get them," he said.
Tice says the technology exists to track and sort through every domestic and international phone call as they are switched through centers, such as one in New York, and to search for key words or phrases that a terrorist might use.
"If you picked the word 'jihad' out of a conversation," Tice said, "the technology exists that you focus in on that conversation, and you pull it out of the system for processing."
According to Tice, intelligence analysts use the information to develop graphs that resemble spiderwebs linking one suspect's phone number to hundreds or even thousands more.
He says the number of Americans subject to eavesdropping by the NSA could be in the millions if the full range of secret NSA programs is used.He's gonna get sucked into a big, black vortex, and his words are going to get chopped off before he gets a chance to speak to Congress.
"That would mean for most Americans that if they conducted, or you know, placed an overseas communication, more than likely they were sucked into that vacuum," Tice said.
I hope not -- being a firm believer in transparency -- but I suspect so. They are not going to be satisfied with just a letter.