William Binney Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

William Binney    

Former NSA Crypto-mathematician

William Binney is a former highly placed intelligence official with the United States National Security Agency (NSA), turned whistleblower who resigned in 2001.

After completing his mathematics degree at Pennsylvania State University, Binney made the calculated decision to volunteer for the Army. Binney served in the Army Security Agency, working on analysis and code-breaking, from 1965 to 1969.

Binney joined the NSA in 1970 and rose through the NSA ranks quickly to the position of Technical Leader for Intelligence.

Binney and his colleagues had developed a system called ‘ThinThread.’ The in-house system was proven to collect “actionable intelligence” . But instead of using ThinThread, the NSA signed a multi-billion dollar contract for a system called Trailblazer. It was “the largest failure in NSA history” and was canceled in 2006.

After resigning in 2001, Binney and his colleague J. Kirk Wiebe blew the whistle on Trailblazer’s costly failings. Instead of going to the press, Binney and Wiebe used the proper channels to inform US Congress and the Department of Defense about what happened.

After retiring from the NSA, he founded, together with fellow NSA whistleblower Wiebe, Entity Mapping, LLC, a private intelligence agency to market their analysis program to government agencies which operated from 2201-2007.

Binney has since made many high-profile appearances in which he shares his NSA experiences. Binney testified in the German Government’s NSA inquiry, describing his former employer as wanting "total information control" over citizens.

Binney also featured in the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour, and was the subject of the 2015 documentary A Good American.

Related Speakers View all


More like William