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  • Nov 3-5

A Good American

Direc­tor: Friedrich Moser

Nom­i­nat­ed as best doc­u­men­tary fea­ture at mul­ti­ple film fes­ti­vals, includ­ing fes­ti­vals in Palm Springs, Cleve­land, and Nashville. 

An eye-open­ing and deeply dis­turb­ing doc­u­men­tary, A Good Amer­i­can tells the com­plete sto­ry of a ground­break­ing, very sophis­ti­cat­ed sur­veil­lance pro­gram – known as “ThinThread” — that was intend­ed to gath­er data capa­ble of pro­vid­ing clues, in real time, of poten­tial ter­ror­ist threats.

The bril­liant mas­ter­mind behind the program’s devel­op­ment was a cryp­tol­o­gist and long-time Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency ana­lyst and Tech­ni­cal Direc­tor, Bill Bin­ney.  The sur­veil­lance pro­gram, which was killed off by NSA man­age­ment only weeks pri­or to 9/11, was evi­dent­ly far more effec­tive and inex­pen­sive than the now dis­cred­it­ed pro­grams being pur­sued by the U.S. and Euro­pean Union governments.

Accord­ing to the film, built-in safe­guards would have pre­vent­ed the mas­sive sur­veil­lance meth­ods lat­er exposed by Edward Snow­den.  So why was this pro­gram killed off?  And who was respon­si­ble for the decision?

Released in 2015

100 min­utes

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