Whistleblower: U.S. Snooped on Tony Blair, Iraqi President

Former operator says he saw Blair file, heard pillow talk of Iraqi leader.

ByABC News
November 24, 2008, 9:56 AM

November 24, 2008— -- A former communications intercept operator says U.S. intelligence snooped on the private lives of two of America's most important allies in fighting al Qaeda: British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Iraq's first interim president, Ghazi al-Yawer.

David Murfee Faulk told ABCNews.com he saw and read a file on Blair's "private life" and heard "pillow talk" phone calls of al-Yawer when he worked as an Army Arab linguist assigned to a secret NSA facility at Fort Gordon, Georgia between 2003 and 2007.

Last month, Faulk and another former military intercept operator assigned to the NSA facility triggered calls for an investigation when they revealed U.S. intelligence intercepted the private phone calls of American journalists, aid workers and soldiers stationed in Iraq.

Faulk says his top secret clearance at Ft. Gordon gave him access to an intelligence data base, called "Anchory," where he says he saw the file on then-British prime minister Tony Blair in 2006.

Faulk declined to provide details other than to say it contained information of a personal nature.

A spokesman for Blair, who stepped down as Prime Minister in 2007, said there would be "no comment" on Faulk's allegations.

Collecting information on foreign leaders is a legal and common practice of intelligence agencies around the world but under a long-standing agreement, the U.S. and Britain have pledged "not to collect on each other," according to several former U.S. intelligence officials.

The NSA works extremely closely and shares data with its British counterpart, the GCHQ, Government Communications Headquarters.

"If it is true that we maintained a file on Blair, it would represent a huge breach of the agreement we have with the Brits," said one former CIA official.

In the case of the former Iraqi president, al-Yawer, Faulk says his "pillow talk" phone calls were to his fiancé, whom he later married. Faulk says the calls were intercepted by operators in the NSA facility at Ft. Gordon, Back Hall, and posted on the computer system for others to read about and hear.