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Wired Release Whistle Blower Documents

Living in the US? Feeling cozy? Then think twice about reading on.

Former AT&T technician Mark Klein is the key witness in the EFF's class action suit against the telecommunications company, which alleges AT&T cooperated in an illegal NSA domestic surveillance program.

In a public statement issued last month, Klein describes the NSA visit to an AT&T office; in an older 'less public' statement recently acquired by Wired, Klein goes into additional detail of his discovery of a surveillance operation in AT&T offices in San Francisco.

Klein supports his claim by attaching excerpts of three internal company documents.

  1. 'Study Group 3, LGX/Splitter Wiring, San Francisco 10 December 2002;
  2. 'SIMS, Splitter Cut-In and Test Procedure 13 January 2003;
  3. 'Cut-In and Test Procedure' 24 January 2003.

Wired present Klein's statement in its entirety. You can also download the complete document in PDF format here.

The full AT&T documents remain sealed by a US federal court in San Francisco.

A few excerpts

I wrote the following document in 2004 when it became clear to me that AT&T, at the behest of the National Security Agency, had illegally installed secret computer gear designed to spy on Internet traffic. At the time I thought this was an outgrowth of the notorious Total Information Awareness program, which was attacked by defenders of civil liberties. But now it's been revealed by The New York Times that the spying program is vastly bigger and was directly authorised by President Bush, as he himself has now admitted, in flagrant violation of specific statutes and constitutional protections for civil liberties. I am presenting this information to facilitate the dismantling of this dangerous Orwellian project.
 - 31 December 2005

The physical arrangement, the timing of its construction, the government imposed secrecy surrounding it and other factors all strongly suggest that its origins are rooted in the Defense Department's Total Information Awareness (TIA) program which brought forth vigorous protests from defenders of constitutionally protected civil liberties last year.

To mollify critics, DARPA spokesmen have repeatedly asserted they are only conducting 'research' using 'artificial synthetic data' or information from 'normal DoD intelligence channels' and hence there are 'no US citizen privacy implications'. They also changed the name to 'Terrorism Information Awareness' to make it more politically palatable. But feeling the heat, Congress made a big show of allegedly cutting off funding for TIA in late 2003, and the political fallout resulted in Poindexter's abrupt resignation last August.
 - 16 January 2004

Yes That Poindexter

John Poindexter is best known (most notorious) for his role in the so called Iran Contras affair. Employees at the US embassy were artificially kept hostage until Ronald Reagan could win the presidential election against incumbent Jimmy Carter; in return Iran would win perks from the coming Reagan administration. The arrangement was set up by then vice presidential candidate George Bush, father of the current US president and at the time in charge of the US Central Intelligence Agency.

Poindexter was convicted on multiple felony counts on 7 April 1990 for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury, defrauding the government, and the alteration and destruction of evidence pertaining to the Iran Contras affair. However the convictions were reversed in 1991 on the technicality that evidence may have been tainted by exposure to Poindexter's testimony before the joint House-Senate committee investigating the matter in which Poindexter's testimony was compelled by a grant of 'use immunity'. The prosecution was not able to retry the case.

Poindexter was recalled to public office during the presidency of George W Bush in December 2002 as director of the DARPA Information Awareness Office. The controversial mission of the IAO was 'to imagine, develop, apply, integrate, demonstrate and transition information technologies, components, and prototype closed-loop information systems that will counter asymmetric threats (most notably terrorist threats) by achieving total information awareness: enabling preemption; national security warning; and national security decision making'.

Poindexter also faced immense criticism from the media and politicians about the 'Policy Analysis Market' project, a futures exchange that would have allowed trading in and profiting from events such as the assassination of heads of state and acts of terrorism. The controversy led to a Congressional audit of the IAO which revealed a fundamental lack of privacy protection for US citizens. Funding for the IAO was subsequently cut and Poindexter retired from DARPA on 12 August 2003.

See Also
Court Deals AT&T a Setback
Whistle Blower's Evidence, Uncut
Why We Published the AT&T Docs

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