The NSA Dragnet Surveillance Program

Mark Klein, a former AT&T technician is reportedly “turning in” AT&T over the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program, after President Bush defended the NSA’s surveillance program as limited to collecting phone calls between suspected terrorists overseas and people in the United States.

In the summer of 2002 a visitor from the NSA visited the office of AT&T in San Francisco. A year or so later, Klein stumbled upon documents that, he said, nearly caused him to fall out of his chair.

The documents show that the NSA gained access to massive amounts of internet records, including e-mails and search records, of more than a dozen global and regional telecommunications providers. AT&T allowed the NSA to hook into its network, and according to Klein, many of the other telecoms most likely knew nothing about it.

Klein, 62, was in Washington this morning to share his story with Congress, in hopes that it will pursuade lawmakers not to grant legal immunity to the telecoms that were involved in the illegal surveillance activities. He worked for AT&T for 22 years before retiring in 2004, and has no qualms about “turning in” AT&T.

“If they’ve done something massively illegal and unconstitutional — well, they should suffer the consequences. 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 said.

Contrary to the Bush Administration claims that its surveillance program is aimed at overseas terrorists, Klein alleged that the NSA, with AT&T’s help, set up a system that vacuumed up internet and phone call data from ordinary Americans. Much of the data sent through AT&T was purely domestic. Klein also said he believes that the NSA was analyzing records for usage patterns as well as for content.

The Special AT&T Internet Room 641A

Klein said the NSA built a special room to receive data streamed through an AT&T internet room containing “peering links,” major connections to other telecom providers. The largest of the links delivered 2.5 gigabits of data per second.

Klein’s eyewitness account and the documents formed the basis of one of the first lawsuits filed against the telecoms after the government’s warrantless surveillance program was reported by the New York Times in December 2005. AT&T, the NSA and the White House declined to comment to the Washington Post.

In the summer of 2002, Klein worked in an office responsible for internet equipment when an NSA representative came to interview a management level technician for a special job whose details were secret.

The job involved building a “secret room” in an AT&T office 10 blocks away he said. Coincidently, in October 2003 Klein was transferred to that office and assigned to the internet room. When he asked a technician there about the secret room on the 6th floor, the technician told him it was connected to the internet room a floor above. The technician, who was about to retire, handed Klein some wiring diagrams.

The NSA Is Getting Everything

The diagram showed splitters, glass prisms that split signals from each network into two identical copies — one went into the secret room and the other proceeded to its destination.

“This splitter was sweeping up everything, vacuum-cleaner-style. The NSA is getting everything. These are major pipes that carry not just AT&T’s customers but everybody’s” he said.

One of the documents in Klein’s possession listed links to 16 entities, including Global Crossing, a large provider of voice and data services in the U.S. and abroad; UUNet, a large internet provider in Northern Virginia, now owned by Verizon; Level 3 Communications, providers of long distance and data transmission in the U.S. and overseas; and the more familiar names such as Sprint and Qwest.

It also included data exchanges MAE-West and PAIX (Palo Alto Internet Exchange), facilities where telecom carriers hand off internet traffic to each other. “I flipped out,” Klein said. “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.” What the documents show is that the NSA was apparently collecting several carriers’ communications, probably without their consent. Once again the Bush Administration has been caught in a lie.

Another document shows that the NSA installed a semantic traffic analyzer made by Narus in the room, which according to Klein, indicated that the NSA was doing content analysis.

While declining to comment on AT&T’s use of the system, Steve Bannerman, Narus’s marketing vice president, in an interview with the Washington Post, said that the NarusInsight system is “the world’s most powerful internet traffic processing engine.” He said it’s used to detect worms, as well as to capture information to help authorities stop criminal activity, and it can track a communication’s origin and destination, as well as content.

Klein decided to go public after President Bush defended the NSA’s surveillance program as being limited to collecting phone calls between suspected terrorists overseas and people in the United States. Klein said the documents show that the scope was much broader.

More information and links to the documents are also available from Wired.com.

Links to More Information

Links to the information above as well as a lot more can be found below:

A Story of Surveillance article from The Washington Post

AT&T Whistle-Blower Hits D.C. To Stop Telecom Spying Immunity article from Wired.com

Olbermann: On waterboarding and torture – Countdown with Keith Olbermann article and video from MSNBC

Well worth watching and reading.

Project Censored Media Democracy in Action – The News That Didn’t Make The News:

“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” Walter Cronkite

Right Wing Extremists Target Porn On Military Bases article from AlterNet:

“Steve Benen: Those who wear the uniform and put their lives on the line for their country should be able to read whatever they want.”

This is one dangerous man: it’s George Bush with brains article from The Guardian UK:

“New York’s former mayor Rudy Giuliani is living up to his reputation as someone who will do and say anything for power.

The man lies with staggering impunity. But here’s the thing: he does it with such conviction and such seeming authority that people who are not inclined to study the matter will believe him – will in fact be utterly convinced that Giuliani is speaking the gospel truth, and they will prove almost impossible to shake from this conviction.

Giuliani’s hypocrisy with regard to this ad doesn’t end with the fake statistics. As Joe Conason noted on www.Salon.com, Giuliani was at the time of his treatment the mayor of New York and enrolled in a nonprofit health maintenance organisation for government employees – that is, mini-socialised medicine. And as Ezra Klein noted on Comment is free, the treatment that saved Giuliani was developed in Denmark – which, as Klein drolly notes, “is both in Europe and has a universal healthcare system.”

2007 Is Deadliest Year for US in Iraq article from The Associated Press

Study Ties Political Leanings to Hidden Biases article from The Washington Post

Talking Points Memo – U.S. Plan Envisioned Nuking Iran, Syria, Libya article from TPMmuckraker:

“Despite years of denials, a secret planning document issued by the U.S. military’s nuclear-weapons command in 2003 ordered preparations for nuclear strikes on countries seeking to acquire weapons of mass destruction, including Iran, Saddam Hussein-era Iraq, Libya and Syria.

A briefing (pdf) on the document obtained by the Federation of American Scientists, showed that the document itself was created to flesh out a 2001 Bush administration revision of long-standing nuclear-weapons policy, known as the Nuclear Posture Review. That review was a Defense Department-led attempt to wean nuclear policy off a Cold-War focus on Russia and China, but the shift raised questions about what purpose nuclear forces would serve apart from deterring an attack. In March 2002, leaks indicated that the review would recommend preparations for nuclear attacks against WMD-aspirant states. Arms Control Today pointed out at the time that planning to attack non-nuclear states that were signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty reversed decades of U.S. nuclear policy.”

UN Probes Congo Slaughter: What about Possible US Involvement in the Invastion of Zaire? article from OpEdNews:

“The UN mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) reported today that the United Nations is going to send a sixteen-person team to map human rights abuses in DRC. Never say never, but the effort is belated considering that eleven years ago 200,000 refugees vanished off the face of the earth. Current reports still use the figure of four million dead in what has become known as Africa’s world War. Others put the figure at closer to ten million dead. With those kinds of numbers, it is impossible to comprehend the levels of atrocities. One thousand die every day in Kivu Province and the death of even one Congolese has become statistically meaningless. God help us if we have become so numb as to ignore even one death.

According to eyewitnesses who have since come forward in conversations with OPED NEWS and keith harmon snow, there is strong evidence that the United States was actively involved in the invasion of what was then Zaire, operating from secret bases in Uganda. These eyewitnesses have told us that their motivation comes from the fact that they realize that they might have been part of an unwitting support system to the slaughter of millions of innocent Congolese.

If the testimony is accurate, it appears that the United States planned an invasion of Zaire from Northern Uganda and Rwanda, beginning in 1996.

Eyewitnesses reported to OPED NEWS and keith harmon snow (www.allthingspass.com) that barracks at Masindi and the airstrip at Gulu in northern Uganda served as the staging grounds for the invasion.”

Bush Could Get Access to Private Hillary Files — Will He Use Them in The Election? article from AlterNet:

“Hillary Clinton has been subject to regular surveillance by Bush’s Executive Branch — and history suggests that it might be used against her in the coming election.

An unspoken political vulnerability of Sen. Hillary Clinton is that she is the first presidential candidate to have both her and her spouse subject to regular, long-term surveillance by an Executive Branch under the control of an opposing political party.

Since they left the White House in 2001, Bill and Hillary Clinton — as the former President and First Lady — have been under the protection of the Secret Service, a branch of the Treasury Department. Records are maintained showing where they go and, to an extent, whom they meet.

Ordinarily, those records are kept as closely held secrets, but theoretically at least, President George W. Bush — with his expansive view of his powers as “unitary executive” — could gain access to them, either formally or informally.”

Is This 20-Year CIA Vet Crazy For Saying 9/11 Is a Probable Inside Job? article from Prison Planet:

“Debunkers not so quick to attack hugely respected intelligence & foreign policy expert Robert Baer.

Robert Baer is no “radical left loony” as Bill O’Reilly would allege and neither does he lean to the right. He is a widely respected expert on intelligence matters and middle eastern foreign policy, an Emmy award nominated documentarian and a strong advocate of the CIA’s need to increase Human Intelligence (HUMINT) on the ground.

Baer served as a clandestine officer in Madras and New Delhi, India; in Beirut, Lebanon; in Dushanbe, Tajikistan; and in Salah al-Din in Kurdish northern Iraq. While in Iraq, Baer tried to persuade the Clinton administration to back a coup to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

So when Baer told a radio host that “the evidence points at” 9/11 having had aspects of being an inside job, the noisy negativists and the trolls were notable by their absence.”

Big Brother UK: Police Now Hold DNA ‘Fingerprints’ Of 4.5M Britons article from This Is London UK

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: George H.W. Warns More Bushes to Run for Office article and video from AlterNet

Like we need another one in office.

Judiciary panel approves Mukasey article from Yahoo! News and The Associated Press:

“WASHINGTON – The Judiciary Committee advanced Attorney General designate Michael Mukasey’s nomination to the Senate floor Tuesday, virtually ensuring confirmation for a former judge ensnarled in bitter controversy over terrorism-era prisoner interrogations.

The 11-8 vote came only after two key Democrats accepted his assurance to enforce any law Congress might enact against waterboarding.”

U.S. Senators Financially Enslave Americans As Indentured Servants To Big Pharma article from Election News 2008:

“The facts found in the report are almost as astonishing as the source of the report itself: USA Today, a mainstream media giant in the United States, has revealed the apparent financial conflict of interest by U.S. Senators who voted against the infamous S.1082 reimportation amendment. That amendment would have ended Big Pharma’s monopoly over U.S. consumers and ultimately saved American citizens, businesses and governments tens of millions of dollars by allowing them to import medicines from other nations with approved safety records (such as Canada or Japan).

But 49 Senators voted against the amendment, defending the Big Pharma monopoly that continues to force Americans to pay the highest prices in the world, by far, for medicines. As I’ve documented in my book, Natural Health Solutions and the Conspiracy to Keep You From Knowing About Them, some pharmaceuticals are marked up 500,000% or more over the cost of their ingredients!

What could have prompted these 49 Senators to vote to protect the profits of drug companies? Follow the money and you’ll find your answer. As it turns out, nearly every one of the 49 Senators who voted against drug reimportation has accepted money from drug companies. USA Today reported the top offenders who voted against the bill, along with the dollars they’ve accepted from drug companies since 2001:”

White House Tells Musharraf: Never ‘Restrict Constitutional Freedoms’ To Fight Terrorism article from Think Progress

Talk about hypocritical.

Voter Intimidation May Plague Election Day 2007 article from AlterNet:

“In a half-dozen states voting today, civil rights activists and Democrats expect to see voter intimidation and suppression.

Tough new voter identification laws, fervent anti-immigrant rhetoric, officials who won’t follow federal election law, challenges to college student voter registrations, electronic voting machine failures — these are problems that voting rights groups and Democrats will be monitoring as a handful of states vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

“No election is ever run perfectly,” said David Becker, People for the American Way’s Democracy Campaign director, which is staffing a national hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE, that will be active on Tuesday to help voters if they run into problems at their polls. “Even if elections are run responsibly, things happen. … We have to be vigilant.”

As always in odd-numbered years, there are a handful of state and local races around the country. While not as high-profile as races for Congress or president, these contests can experience numerous voter suppression tactics and deceptive election practices. Some political observers say obstacles that will surface today may be a precursor for 2008.”

The Freedom Agenda Fizzles article from Salon News: – How George Bush and Condoleezza Rice made a mistake of Pakistan

Smearing Code Pink article from TruthDig:

“Now Code Pink, whose tactics have become increasingly confrontational and disruptive as the Iraq war has wound on, has become an applause line in a presidential speech. It is a turning point and an unnerving preview of ugliness still to come. “When it comes to funding our troops, some in Washington should spend more time responding to the warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden and the requests of our commanders on the ground, and less time responding to the demands of MoveOn.org bloggers and Code Pink protesters,” Bush said in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation.

This is not the most dangerous sophistry in which Bush has engaged over the past seven years. But it is a precursor to the Nixonian demonization of dissenters that looks to be a hallmark of next year’s presidential campaign, complete with the distortions and untruths that helped undo the presidential campaign of decorated war hero John Kerry in 2004 and ended the Senate career of Vietnam veteran and triple-amputee Max Cleland of Georgia.

Deconstructing the Bush smear is simple. “Some in Washington”-notice no one is named-should spend more time worrying about terrorists and funding the troops. Well, Democrats in Congress have funded the troops, at the levels Bush has sought and sometimes with more money than he’s requested for Afghanistan and for veterans. In this sense, Democratic congressional leaders aren’t listening to either MoveOn.org or Code Pink. If they were, funding for military operations in Iraq would have been cut off by now. And, most likely, the abysmally low public approval ratings that Congress gets in national polls would be higher.”

U.S. Was Foiled Multiple Times in Efforts To Capture Bin Laden or Have Him Killed article from the Washington Post: CIA Trained Pakistanis to Nab Terrorist but Military Coup Put an End to 1999 Plot

Lieberman Declares Mission Accomplished: ‘The Tide Has Turned In Iraq,’ ‘We Are Winning’ article from Think Progress:

Somehow I think this will come back and bite Lieberman in the butt:

“I’m proud to say that the tide has turned in Iraq and we’re winning that war,” Lieberman said. “And if we don’t let down our troops, they’re going to bring home a victory that will protect us here at home from today’s threat – totalitarian terrorist Islamism that’s trying to take our liberty from us.”

In reality, the U.S. is drifting further away from “victory.” In October, civilian deaths increased, according to statistics obtained by the Iraqi government. A recent report from the Special Inspector General for Iraq reconstruction last month found little prospect of “lasting” reconciliation in Iraq.

Lieberman’s prediction is the latest in a line of premature declarations of victory. Throughout the war, he has repeatedly called for staying the course, claiming that we are “winning” the war:

– “Overall, I would say what I see here today is progress, significant progress from the last time I was here in December. And if you can see progress in war that means you’re headed in the right direction.” [5/30/07]

Web links to every member of the United States House of Representatives from House.gov

ACLU learns of third ‘secret’ torture memo from Gonzales Justice Department article from Raw Story

Oil hit another record, above $97 article from CNNMoney: Fears of dwindling stockpiles in the United States, a falling dollar and projections of strong demand push crude closer to $100

Al Gore SLAMS the Bush Regime article with poll from Daily Kos:

“Rolling Stone published a wide-ranging interview with Al Gore in its latest issue, covering the climate crisis, his (lack of) plans in the presidential race and his view of the Bush administration.  When the interview turned to Gore’s view of the Bush regime, he issued a stinging condemnation:

RS: What’s the worst damage they’ve done, other than the climate crisis?

Gore: They have promoted the idea that freedom and security are mutually exclusive, that you can have one only to the extent that you’ve sacrificed the other.  That is an un-American idea.  When our founders framed the Constitution, they understood the reality of war.  When the Declaration of Independence was written, it was written by Americans who were in danger of being hung.  They had reason to fear for their very lives, every single one of them, but they insisted on the protection of habeas corpus and freedom of speech and freedom of the press and freedom of assembly and freedom of religion, and the separation of self-government from the establishment of a religious dogma as an official set of beliefs.  They had real courage that bridged their devotion to freedom and their need for security.

But instead of courage, this administration has used fear to undermine the system of checks and balances and the carefully balanced relationship between separate branches of government and the principle that all of the operations of our self-government should be accountable to the people.  The arrogance and unaccountability of absolute power is corrupting, and our founders knew that so well.  They embodied in our nation a universal principle derived from a millennium and a half of history, from Athens to Rome through the Enlightenment to the American Revolution.  But all of that has been blithely ignored by this administration because of their lust for power.

It’s not just the excesses of Bush and Cheney — it’s the failure of our Congress, our courts, our free press, and all of us, to speak up and prevent this degradation of the American idea.”

Double Standards at the New York Times article from OpEdNews

Bush Brother’s Firm Faces Inquiry Over Purchases article from The New York Times:

“Melanie Sloan, executive director of the group, referring to No Child Left Behind, said: “A constant principle of N.C.L.B. is that children must be taught using scientifically proven methods. Ignite’s Cows simply don’t meet N.C.L.B. standards. This suggests that the real reason N.C.L.B. funds are expended on Ignite is because the founder and C.E.O. is the president’s brother.”

FBI Mined Grocery Store Records to Find Iranian Terrorists article from Wired.com

Feingold responds to Ashcroft on telecom immunity article from Think Progress:

“Former Attorney General John Ashcroft leaves out a crucial point when he argues that telecommunications companies that allegedly cooperated with the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program should be shielded from lawsuits.

Telecom companies that cooperate with a government wiretap request are already immune from lawsuits, as long as they get a court order or a certification from the attorney general that the wiretap follows all applicable statutes. […]

If we want companies and the government to follow the law in the future, retroactive immunity sets a terrible precedent.”

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