Leaked NSA files show U.S. telecom company ‘helped spy agency’
AT&T granted the NSA access to billions of emails that traveled through its domestic networks
The U.S. National Security Agency has used a unique, decades-old partnership with AT&T to snoop on Internet usage, according to newly disclosed documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
The documents provided by the former NSA contractor and reviewed by The New York Times and ProPublica described a “highly collaborative” telecom giant that demonstrated an “extreme willingness to help.”
The Times said it was unclear whether the programs are still operational in the same way today. The documents were dated from 2003 to 2013.
AT&T granted the NSA access to billions of emails that traveled through its domestic networks, and helped the spy agency wiretap all online communications at United Nations headquarters, the documents show.
AT&T has provided the Internet line to the world body’s headquarters.
Company spokesman Brad Burns insisted that “we do not provide information to any investigating authorities without a court order or other mandatory process other than if a person’s life is in danger and time is of the essence.”
“For example, in a kidnapping situation we could provide help tracking down called numbers to assist law enforcement,” he told AFP.
In the documents, AT&T and other companies are not identified by name but rather codenamed.
One of the oldest programs, Fairview, was launched in 1985 and involves AT&T, the Times and ProPublica said, citing several former intelligence officials.
A Fairview fiber optic cable damaged during the 2011 Japan earthquake, for example, was repaired on the same date as an AT&T cable.
The program spied on the U.N. headquarters Internet line in response to an order by the special U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the documents show.
Washington has since told the U.N. it would not collect data on its communications.
Verizon and the former MCI -- which Verizon purchased in 2006 -- are part of another program, codenamed Stormbrew.
AT&T began providing to the NSA some 1.1 billion domestic cellphone calling records a day in 2011, after a “push to get this flow operational prior to the 10th anniversary of 9/11,” the newly released documents showed.
That same year, the NSA spent $188.9 million on Fairview, more than twice the amount on the next-largest corporate program, Stormbrew ($66.8 million).
Intelligence officials had initially said that the phone calls the NSA had collected were mostly from landline, not cellular, phone records, after Snowden first revealed the wiretapping program.
NSA to stop using bulk U.S. phone data under surveillance programThe new law halts the NSA’s ability to scoop up and store metadata - telephone numbers, dates and times of calls Digital
German magazine claims NSA behind Syria security meeting leaksThe magazine added that NSA document called Turkey both a partner and target Middle East
Germany wants quick clarification of new NSA spy allegationsGermany’s FM says he’s hoping that new allegations of U.S. spying on senior German officials can be clarified quickly World News
Obama signs bill remaking NSA phone records programA legislation was signed eliminating the NSA's disputed bulk phone-records collection program to now keep the phone records in the phone companies' hands World News
NSA planned hack of google app store: ReportThe online news site The Intercept said U.S. intelligence developed the plan with allies in Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia World News
NSA chief says access to data must be ‘timely’The vast scope of surveillance was revealed in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden World News
U.S. appeals court rules NSA bulk data sweep illegalThe ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the NSA and FBI World News
U.S. unveils 6-year-old report on NSA surveillanceThe Office of the Director of National Intelligence publicly released the redacted report on Saturday World News
SIM maker Gemalto confirms possible spy attacksThe website made the allegations on the theft of the keys based on a document leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden Digital