Shortly after dawn on a July morning in 2007, a convoy of black FBI utility vehicles snaked down Ridge Road, a tranquil, leafy street lined with modest homes and manicured shrubs in the Maryland suburb of Severn. After a few twists and turns, they came to a stop at the end of a cul-de-sac opposite a two-story gray colonial. Seconds later, a dozen agents, weapons pulled from their holsters, burst into the house. Upstairs was William E. Binney, a former senior employee of the National Security Agency headquartered at nearby Fort Meade.
“They shoved my son out of the way as they rushed in with their guns drawn and charged upstairs, where my wife was getting dressed and I was in the shower,” Binney told me. “After pointing their guns at her, one of the agents came into the shower and pointed a gun directly at my head as he forcibly pulled me out. Then they took me out to the back porch and began interrogating me, attempting to implicate me in a crime.”