Who is a good American? Someone who trusts in government institutions and obeys all laws, even those that violate human rights? Or would we say a good citizen is someone capable of standing up to government overreach?
The titular American of Friedrich Moser’s movie is William Binney, a former National Security Agency employee. His 30-year career in the NSA ended shortly after the 9/11 attacks, when this security analyst became a whistleblower, exposing the activities of a massive intelligence agency. Among the issues brought to light by Binney was the case of his surveillance program scrapped by the NSA; Binney’s program could have prevented the World Trade Center attacks. The whistleblower also played a key role during the Snowden case, using his knowledge and experience to validate the leaks.
Friedrich Moser’s A Good American is a very human and intimate portrait of a former agent devoted to truth and civic society, a man whose actions put him on the enemy list of government institutions in one of the world’s greatest powers.
Several decades ago Rosa Parks became a civil rights heroine in the US by standing up to a reality where the law was a tool of oppression. In the 21st century, William Binney became one of the world’s preeminent whistleblowers. Why isn’t he universally considered a hero?
William Binney – title subject, whistleblower, former NSA agent;
Friedrich Moser – director
Katarzyna Szymielewicz – president of the Panoptykon Foundation
The debate will take place following a 18:30 screening of A Good American, May 19th, 2016