The NSA’s hidden spy hubs revealed in eight U.S. cities

“The secrets are hidden behind fortified walls in cities across the United States, inside towering, windowless skyscrapers and fortress-like concrete structures that were built to withstand earthquakes and even nuclear attack. Thousands of people pass by the buildings each day and rarely give them a second glance, because their function is not publicly known,” Ryan Gallagher and Henrik Moltke report for The Intercept. “They are an integral part of one of the world’s largest telecommunications networks – and they are also linked to a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program.”

“Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.,” Gallagher and Moltke report. “In each of these cities, The Intercept has identified an AT&T facility containing networking equipment that transports large quantities of internet traffic across the United States and the world. A body of evidence – including classified NSA documents, public records, and interviews with several former AT&T employees – indicates that the buildings are central to an NSA spying initiative that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.”

“The NSA considers AT&T to be one of its most trusted partners and has lauded the company’s ‘extreme willingness to help.’ It is a collaboration that dates back decades. Little known, however, is that its scope is not restricted to AT&T’s customers,” Gallagher and Moltke report. “According to the NSA’s documents, it values AT&T not only because it ‘has access to information that transits the nation,’ but also because it maintains unique relationships with other phone and internet providers. The NSA exploits these relationships for surveillance purposes, commandeering AT&T’s massive infrastructure and using it as a platform to covertly tap into communications processed by other companies.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And now AT&T’s Death Star logo makes sense.

Visit the Apple-backed Reform Government Surveillance coalition website here.

Visit the Apple-backed Reform Government Surveillance coalition website here.

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    1. Dear NSA-Sympathizer Bo,
      Still relevant. You know why? Because people need reminding about the extent of NSA’s illegal intrusion into their lives. Also old but still relevant news is that the National Security Police Spy State, or anyone who seeks to diminish the relevance and truth of a serious gov. shenanigan throws out the “old news” canard for fear of more needed exposure.

  1. Don’t loose your cookies yet, that whole long article is really nothing new.

    Every major city and lots of smaller cities have “telephone hotels” where different companies interconnect with each other. That’s what makes the internet the internet. Of course the NSA also has a presence in these hotels- to spy on anyone requires the ability to spy on everyone. 🙂

    These companies include telecoms, cable companies, and internet service companies, along with companies you’d expect like google, amazon, Microsoft, Hulu, Netflix but some you wouldn’t like xmradio.

    Generally you cannot tap into fiber optic cables but you most certainly can tap into the switches in the telephone hotels, and, that, my friends, is just what the NSA has been doing for more than 40 years. As a matter of fact, the NSA started doing this when signaling system 7 came out in 1975. 🙂

    Oh one more thing: the data, generally, doesn’t go to NSA HQ outside of Washington DC, it goes to a MAJOR “secret” data processing center in Utah. Well, after Snowdon, it is so secret any more. But to anyone with half a brain knew that already.

    1. Illogical fallacy to issue a straw man argument. A SMA is when a loser of an argument or someone fearful of the implications of the issue in the argument addresses an issue that was not the topic in order to make readers lose track of the point of the conversation. Your logical fallacy was to address the “really nothing new.” IOW, your illogic was based on giving the impression of denying or refuting an argument, while actually refuting an argument that was absent.

  2. I have walked every floor of the 10 South Canal Street building in Chicago, almost all of which have nothing in them. That is the AT&T Long Lines building designed with double, mostly windowless walls on the switching gear floors to withstand a nuclear explosion. It was also designed when switching gear was electro-mechanical but opened when the gear became digital, hence only a couple of floors of the 20+ built were needed. The other reason for the height is that, to the best of my knowledge, the communications in and out were strictly microwave long-distance communications (Long Lines, get it) via an array of horn antennas on the roof. In the event of an explosion that would wipe out the roof antennas, there were spares in the basement and lower floors along with food and a secure water supply and other items intended to allow the survivors to live and work in the building after the nuclear attack. Presumably to communicate to whom, you might ask. BTW, the building paid the second largest amount of real estate taxes of any commercial building per square foot in the City. The First National Bank of Chicago paid the most and the then Kennedy-family-owned Merchandise Mart paid the least. Go figure.

  3. Damn, that’s not right.. I even got the chills. Thank you for posting this, now I remember why I bought Nordvpn. People need to start protecting their personal data more.

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