Politics “What the Heck is the NSA doing here?”
posted by November 8 at 6:00 AMon
AT&T whistle blower Mark Klein, a retired AT&T technician who has gone public with his inside knowledge about the NSA’s surveillance program, says AT&T was providing the NSA with user data from “the whole Internet.”
Klein’s allegation contradicts the Bush Administration’s claims that NSA surveillance was focused on international traffic. Klein’s claims also indicate that AT&T was handing over Internet traffic data from other telecom companies, without the consent or knowledge of those companies.
The Washington Post reports:
“This splitter was sweeping up everything, vacuum-cleaner-style,” he said. “The NSA is getting everything. These are major pipes that carry not just AT&T’s customers but everybody’s.”
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.
“I flipped out,” he 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.”
Klein was in DC yesterday lobbying Congress to oppose a bill that would grant immunity to telecom companies that assisted the NSA’s illegal wiretapping by handing over customers data without a warrant. They were just following government orders, the logic goes, and they shouldn’t have to face lawsuits like this one.
Yesterday, Connecticut Democrat and Presidential candidate Sen. Chris Dodd, who is battling the Senate bill, released this YouTube interview with Klein: