Top Secret Gov't Spying room revealed by AT$T Whistleblower

Posted on March 9, 2007 - 10:33pm.

Note: A new spin on this older story (May 2006), remember that the Justice Department and the FCC cleared the AT&T-Bell South merger well after the original story was broken. EFF still has a lawsuit pending against the NSA

from: AlterNet

Top Secret Gov't Spying room revealed by AT&T Whistleblower

Posted by Evan Derkacz at 7:14 AM on March 8, 2007.
(see video at site)

LA Times dropped the story mysteriously...

This is a somewhat lengthy clip (12 minutes or so) but its importance is hard to overstate as an emblem of Bush's America.

See video at AlterNet

In the name of fighting the "war on terror," the Bush Administration has secretly enlisted the help of telecommunications agencies across the nation to do "datamining" -- using pre-programmed criteria to sift through the private information of Americans on the web and telephone lines in search of clues.

There is no oversight despite the existence of a court (FISA) which is designed for just this purpose. Of course, you see the problem; the technology has outgrown the oversight method though the administration has chosen to just push on...

In this clip, former AT&T technician Mark Klein discusses his investigation of a secret room built in conjunction with the National Security Agency through which all customer information was routed.

Both the EFF and the ACLU have cases in the courts at the moment. As the clip shows, the government (and AT&T) are trying to get the case dismissed on "national security" grounds. Thus far, they've only been successful in blocking the release of certain documents. But, as far as dismissal is concerned, the EFF notes:

As Judge Walker wrote when dismissing AT&T's immunity claims, "AT&T cannot seriously contend that a reasonable entity in its position could have believed that the alleged domestic dragnet was legal." Judge Walker also flatly rejected the government's secrecy argument: "The compromise between liberty and security remains a difficult one. But dismissing this case at the outset would sacrifice liberty for no apparent enhancement of security."

The case is now on appeal before the 9th Circuit.

Evan Derkacz is an AlterNet editor. He writes and edits PEEK, the blog of blogs.