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Details emerge on second potential NSA facility
Published: 2006-06-21

Two former AT&T employees have fingered a room in the telecommunications company's building near St. Louis as a likely center for wiretapping and Internet monitoring by the National Security Agency, according to a Salon.com article.

The two employees, who were not named in the article, said the room had a sophisticated set of double security doors, known as a "mantrap," and any engineer who worked inside required extensive security clearances. While the article does not provide conclusive evidence that the room represents a surveillance operation by the secretive NSA, several intelligence experts and a former NSA analyst quoted in the article said the description contains all the hallmarks of such an operation.

The latest evidence of extensive surveillance of both phone calls and Internet activity by the military agency responsible for protecting the United States' communications and cracking the messages of foreign enemies and competitors comes as AT&T readies itself to answer to a federal judge in a California lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In an apparent response to the lawsuits against the company, AT&T has revised its privacy policy to clarify that the data it collects on users belongs to the telco.

The accusation that the NSA tapped the communications of U.S. citizens came last December in a New York Times article. A follow-up article by the same reporters asserted that the agency is also mining large amounts of Internet connection and e-mail routing data to find patterns that could link certain people with terrorists. Two class-action lawsuits have already been filed against AT&T following revelations that the company allowed the NSA to have full access to any data crossing its network.

In May, a USA Today claimed that the NSA obtained the phone records of tens of millions of Americans through the cooperation of AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth. The latter two companies have denied cooperating with the agency. The Federal Communications Commission refused to investigate whether the telecommunications companies broke the law by allegedly cooperating with the NSA.



Posted by: Robert Lemos
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