Monday, August 17, 2015

What We Know About the NSA and AT&T’s Spying Pact

NEW EDWARD SNOWDEN documents revealed on Saturday in the New York Times detail a decade-long secret partnership between the NSA and AT&T, which provided the spy agency with metadata on billions of emails. Although the Times story has garnered a lot of attention, it offers few details about how the telecom conducted the siphoning and spying for the NSA.

But two stories published almost decade ago by WIRED and Salon provide in-depth details about the secret rooms at AT&T facilities in San Francisco, Missouri, and other areas across the US that the NSA used to siphon internet data.

WIRED and Salon exposed that willingness back in 2006, when Mark Klein, a former technician with AT&T in San Francisco, and two other former AT&T technicians who worked at other facilities, provided information about secret rooms the telecom had built in Bridgeton, Missouri and San Francisco.

According to them, AT&T first built the highly secured room in Bridgeton, outside St. Louis, in 2002. The telecom outfitted the room with a biometric “mantrap” that was secured with retinal and fingerprint scanners, and only workers with a TS/SCI security clearance were allowed inside. The facility, local workers were told, was being used for “monitoring network traffic” for “a government agency.”

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