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Posted: 4/14/2006 6:59:20 PM EST
no real suprises here...

Whistle-blower says AT&T gave spy agency access to network
- By DAVID KRAVETS, AP Legal Affairs Writer
Thursday, April 13, 2006

(04-13) 20:11 PDT San Francisco (AP) --

AT&T Inc. and an Internet advocacy group are waging in federal court a
privacy battle that could expose the reach of the Bush administration's
secretive domestic wiretapping program.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said it obtained documents from a
former AT&T technician showing that the National Security Agency is
capable of monitoring all communications on AT&T's network.

"It appears the NSA is capable of conducting what amounts to
vacuum-cleaner surveillance of all the data crossing the Internet, whether
that be people's e-mail, Web surfing or any other data," whistle-blower
Mark Klein, who worked for the company for 22 years, said in a statement
released by his lawyers.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker is considering whether to unseal
documents that Klein provided and AT&T wants kept secret. EFF filed the
documents under seal as a courtesy to the phone company, but is seeking to
unseal them.

The EFF lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, seeks to stop the
surveillance program that started shortly after the 2001 terror attacks.
The suit is based in large part on the Klein documents, which detail
secret spying rooms and electronic surveillance equipment in AT&T

The suit claims AT&T company not only provided direct access to its
network that carries voice and data but also to its massive databases of
stored telephone and Internet records that are updated constantly.

AT&T violated U.S. law and the privacy of its customers as part of the
"massive and illegal program to wiretap and data.m.ine Americans'
communications" without warrants, the EFF alleged.

Klein said the NSA built a secret room at the company's San Francisco
central office in 2003, adjacent to a "switch room where the public's
phone calls are routed." One of the documents under seal, Klein said,
shows that a device was installed with the "ability to sift through large
amounts of data looking for preprogrammed targets."

Other so-called secret rooms were constructed at AT&T sites in Seattle,
San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego, the statement said.

Other documents under seal show that fiber optic cables from the secret
room tapped into WorldNet Internet subscribers, Klein said. The documents
also instructed technicians how to connect cables to the secret room.
Klein said he was required to connect circuits that fed information to the
secret room.

The NSA declined directly to address the lawsuit or Klein's allegations,
which covered activities at AT&T Corp. before SBC Communications Inc.
bought it and became AT&T Inc. late last year.

"Any discussion about actual or alleged operational issues would be
irresponsible as it would give our adversaries insight that would enable
them to adjust and potentially inflict harm to the U.S.," NSA spokesman
Don Weber said.

Michael Balmoris, an AT&T spokesman, said the San Antonio-based
telecommunications company "follows all laws with respect to assistance
offered to government agencies." He declined further elaboration, saying
AT&T is "not in a position to comment on matters of national security or

President Bush confirmed in December that the NSA has been conducting the
surveillance when calls and e-mails, in which at least one party is
outside the United States, are thought to involve al-Qaida terrorists.

In congressional hearings last week, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales
suggested the president could order the NSA to listen in on purely
domestic calls without first obtaining a warrant from a secret court
established nearly 30 years ago to consider such issues.

He said the administration, assuming the conversation related to al-Qaida,
would have to determine if the surveillance were crucial to the nation's
fight against terrorism, as authorized by Congress following the Sept. 11

The case is Hepting v. AT&T Inc., 06-0672.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 7:02:32 PM EST
Yep, first thing I thought was "Gee, that's no surprise".
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 7:05:14 PM EST
Golly gee, I didn't know they were listening to TELEPHONE conversations over a TELEPHONE network.

What ultra maroons
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