AT&T whistleblower steps forward, describes NSA collusion

Kudos to Wired for publishing the statement of AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein. Klein worked for AT&T for 22 years. The statement is, to put it mildly, worth reading.

High points:

“In 2002, when I was working in an AT&T office in San Francisco, the site manager told me to expect a visit from a National Security Agency agent, who was to interview a management-level technician for a special job. The agent came, and by chance I met him and directed him to the appropriate people.” [note how EARLY this started]

“In January 2003, I . . . toured the AT&T central office on Folsom Street in San Francisco . . . There I saw a new room being built adjacent to the 4ESS switch room where the public’s phone calls are routed. I learned that the person whom the NSA interviewed for the secret job was the person working to install equipment in this room. The regular technician work force was not allowed in the room.”

“I learned that fiber optic cables from the secret room were tapping into the Worldnet circuits by splitting off a portion of the light signal. I saw this in a design document available to me, entitled “Study Group 3, LGX/Splitter Wiring, San Francisco” dated Dec. 10, 2002. I also saw design documents dated Jan. 13, 2004 and Jan. 24, 2003, which instructed technicians on connecting some of the already in-service circuits to the “splitter” cabinet, which diverts some of the light signal to the secret room. The circuits listed were the Peering Links, which connect Worldnet with other networks and hence the whole country, as well as the rest of the world.”

“One of the documents listed the equipment installed in the secret room, and this list included a Narus STA 6400, which is a “Semantic Traffic Analyzer”. The Narus STA technology is known to be used particularly by government intelligence agencies because of its ability to sift through large amounts of data looking for preprogrammed targets.”

“My job required me to connect new circuits to the “splitter” cabinet and get them up and running. While working on a particularly difficult one with a technician back East, I learned that other such “splitter” cabinets were being installed in other cities, including Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego.”

Based on his experience, Klein says that “it appears the NSA is capable of conducting what amounts to vacuum-cleaner surveillance of all the data crossing the internet — whether that be peoples’ e-mail, web surfing or any other data.”

It might be added that Bush insiders including some of the president’s relatives are among business people most closely hooked into the global telecommunications industry.

 

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