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article imageFormer AT&T Employee Discovers Depth of NSA's Spying on Citizens

By William Suphan     Nov 9, 2007 in World
A former AT&T employee made a harrowing discovery while working there: a secret room built specifically for the NSA, where ALL internet traffic is recorded and stored in its entirety.
Mark Klein was working for AT&T in San Francisco, when he opened the door to let in a visitor from the National Security Agency. He wondered, "What the heck is the NSA doing here?"
He discovered documents a year later which showed that the NSA had access to disturbing amounts of email, search records and other internet records from not just AT&T, but about a dozen other telecommunications providers, both domestic and global, many of them likely unaware.
Klein says he has no problems turning in AT&T for giving the NSA access to information that the Bush Administration claimed it was not using. "If they've done something massively illegal and unconstitutional -- well, they should suffer the consequences," said Klein. "It's not my place to feel bad for them. They made their bed, they have to lie in it. The ones who did [anything wrong], you can be sure, are high up in the company. Not the average Joes, who I enjoyed working with."
Klein found that, despite the government's claim that most of it's surveillance is aimed overseas, most of the information collected was instead domestic. The NSA is indeed spying on its own citizenry in ways that Orwell never dreamed.
Klein discovered a secret room in the AT&T offices which contained "peering links", or access to other telecom providers. The biggest one processes 2.5GB per second.
AT&T spokesperson Claudia Jones said, "AT&T is fully committed to protecting our customers' privacy. We do not comment on matters of national security."
In October of 2003, Klein was transferred to the offices that contained the secret room. He asked a technician, who was ready to retire, about a secret room on the 6th floor, and the technician handed him some wiring diagrams, saying that the secret room was connected to the internet room one floor higher.
The diagram detailed splitters, glass prisms that split network signals into two identical copies. One copy proceeded to its normal destination while the other fed directly into the secret room.
"This splitter was sweeping up everything, vacuum-cleaner-style," said Klein. "The NSA is getting everything. These are major pipes that carry not just AT&T's customers but everybody's."
An article from the Washington Post states:
One of Klein's documents listed links to 16 entities, including Global Crossing, a large provider of voice and data services in the United States and abroad; UUNet, a large Internet provider in Northern Virginia now owned by Verizon; Level 3 Communications, which provides local, long-distance and data transmission in the United States and overseas; and more familiar names such as Sprint and Qwest. It also included data exchanges MAE-West and PAIX, or Palo Alto Internet Exchange, facilities where telecom carriers hand off Internet traffic to each other.
Klein said, "I flipped out! They're copying the whole Internet. There's no selection going on here. Maybe they select out later, but at the point of handoff to the government, they get everything."
Another document showed that a semantic traffic analyzer, built by Narus, was also installed in the room, which indicates that the NSA is doing content analysis.
A marketing representative from Narus, Steve Bannerman, said the NarusInsight system is "the world's most powerful Internet traffic processing engine," which can detect worms and capture information to help stop criminal activity. It tracks not only content, but the origin and destination of all info sent through the internet.
Klein chose to go public with his discovery after President Bush publicly claimed that the NSA's surveillance program only collected phone calls between terrorists overseas and suspects in the Unites States. Klein found that the scope was infinitely larger.
This is looking doubleplus ungood.
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