MIKE ZULLO TELLS THE WHOLE STORY
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 29, 2019) — On Friday, Mike Zullo, who supervised a project for approximately a year for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) involving then-confidential informant Dennis Montgomery, was the sole guest on the two-hour “Freedom Friday” show hosted by Carl Gallups on WEBY.
During Friday’s interview, Zullo said that information Montgomery provided to the sheriff’s office in 2013 “is happening today.”
As detailed in a three-part series released last week under this title, Zullo stressed that while information Montgomery provided on 47 high-capacity hard drives were found by seasoned analysts to have little or no value, Montgomery had provided data on separate thumb drives which ultimately appeared to show bank-account breaches on a mass scale committed against Maricopa County residents.
Referring to Montgomery, Zullo told Gallups that “some of the information he gave us” during an interview with the Arizona attorney general “was mind-blowing” and “things that Montgomery told us in 2013 are, in fact, happening today” (11:15 in podcast).
A software developer, Montgomery worked as a CIA and NSA contractor between 2001 and 2010. Court records show that in 2006, then-Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Negroponte invoked the “State Secrets Privilege” in regard to Montgomery’s anticipated testimony and that later, Montgomery was read into a “Special Access Program” (SAP).
“Names and players and organizations, and everything,” Gallups responded to Zullo’s claim about Montgomery’s spoken allegations. “There is a complete timeline, Carl, that you can put together — names, times, events, and locations — and all of this would be easily corroborated by any federal investigator,” Zullo said, “…and the very names are the names that you’re seeing in the news today going after the President of the United States.”
Zullo then began to detail his transporting of the 47 hard drives to three former NSA officials: Thomas Drake, William Binney, and J. Kirk Wiebe, for their expert analysis as to the contents to assess the value of the data. He described all three as “stand-up American patriots” (14:07) who have “paid a huge price” for blowing the whistle on NSA activity which they said violated Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. Drake, Zullo pointed out, “was prosecuted” by the Bush, and later, the Obama administration for providing documents to a Baltimore Sun reporter about “alleged agency mismanagement.” First facing ten felonies, Drake accepted a plea deal on a single misdemeanor count, The New York Times reported on July 16, 2011.
The three had designed a tracking program, ThinThread, Zullo explained, which then-NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden (Ret) replaced with the more expansive “Trailblazer,” which lacked Fourth-Amendment protections. “And this is what prompted Wiebe, Drake, and Binney and I think two others to come forward as whistleblowers because they built their program to protect this country during the war on terror, but they built it also to protect the American citizen, and that was what was being violated, and that pushed them forward,” Zullo explained.
Along with the 47 hard drives, Zullo and Det. Brian Mackiewicz presented the thumb drives Montgomery had first given them, which Binney, Wiebe and Drake to report that they appeared to contain information “obtained through some sort of breaching,” although they noted they did not have “source information” on how the material was gathered.
Then-MCSO Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan had instructed Zullo and Mackiewicz to seal any device found to contain “privileged” information and notify the FBI, Zullo recalled.
As the analysis of the hard drives went forward, Zullo recalled, the analysts laughingly said they contained nothing valuable. The report bearing the signatures of Drake and Wiebe was “scathing,” Zullo said, “but the conclusion in the bottom of the report said that they believed, based on what they saw, that Dennis Montgomery is a fraud and a con and is just trying to rip the government off for money.”
“That shut down this investigation right then and there,” Zullo added. “There was no more relationship between the sheriff’s office and Montgomery; however, I was tasked with monitoring Montgomery for another 12 months because we were trying to get him to the FBI.”
At that point, Zullo turned back to a June 7, 2019 YouTube broadcast by Dr. Dave Janda featuring Binney and Wiebe indicating, in an abrupt about-face, that they believed Montgomery’s past work to have been “creditable” (21:40).
The interview resumed at the 23:00 mark.