Room 641A: AT&T’s complicity in Bush’s Orwellian America

I pass this windowless, metal-clad behemoth of a building every day. It’s practically across the street from my office downtown. It’s an AT&T; building, but I never understood why it would have absolutely no windows. I always wondered what was inside.

A whistleblower who used to be a technician working for AT&T; in this building revealed that it contains a room which is only accessible to National Security Agency (NSA) personnel, into which all communications traffic — internet and telephone — flows and is copied.

“My job was to connect circuits into the splitter device which was hard-wired to the secret room,” said whistleblower Mark Klein. “And effectively, the splitter copied the entire data stream of those internet cables into the secret room — and we’re talking about phone conversations, email web browsing, everything that goes across the internet.”

In January 2006 the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T;, accusing the telecom giant of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the NSA in a massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans’ communications.

The traffic routed through these secret rooms is not limited to AT&T; customers, and AT&T; is not the only telecom company complicit in the government’s conspiracy to surveil the entirety of American civil communications. The EFF has filed briefs seeking information on similar locked rooms in facilities owned by Verizon, MCI, and others.

Coverage of Room 641A:

Washington Post: A Story of Surveillance: Former Technician ‘Turning In’ AT&T; Over NSA Program
PBS’s Frontline: Spying on the Home Front
Wired interview with Mark Klein: Spying in the Death Star: The AT&T; Whistle-Blower Tells His Story
Wired: AT&T; Whistle-Blower’s Evidence
Electronic Frontier Foundation: Hepting v. AT&T;
Wikipedia: Room 641A

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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    Posted January 31, 2008 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    I cannot believe in the USA we have to worry about OUR gov’t officials spying on our email and phone calls. The Bush administration has in 8 yrs destoyed what it took this country over 200 yrs to create…A FREE COUNTRY!!! GOOD JOB, GW now go back to Texas, a village there is missing it’s prize idiot!

  2. Posted May 3, 2008 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this, I realize it’s old but I’ve been searching for this particular article recently.

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