The NSA’s Hidden Spy Hubs in Eight U.S. Cities

A VERY long read that is worth your while.

It reminds you of how well you don’t know your city if you’re living in one of these eight.

 

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420 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

 

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. 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. 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. 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. Continue reading

Six U.S. intelligence agencies warn against using Huawei phones

See also:

Intel Chiefs Sound Alarm on China Threat

The Secret Ways of Chinese Telecom Giant Huawei

Australian parliament reviews use of Chinese-made cell phones

 

Six intelligence officials, including the heads of the CIA, FBI, and NSA, have told the Senate Intelligence Committee that they would not recommend that U.S. citizens use smartphones from the Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE, reports CNBC. As FBI director Chris Wray told the committee:

Continue reading

Titanpointe: The NSA’s Spy Hub in New York, Hidden in Plain Sight

 

THEY CALLED IT Project X. It was an unusually audacious, highly sensitive assignment: to build a massive skyscraper, capable of withstanding an atomic blast, in the middle of New York City. It would have no windows, 29 floors with three basement levels, and enough food to last 1,500 people two weeks in the event of a catastrophe.

But the building’s primary purpose would not be to protect humans from toxic radiation amid nuclear war. Rather, the fortified skyscraper would safeguard powerful computers, cables, and switchboards. It would house one of the most important telecommunications hubs in the United States — the world’s largest center for processing long-distance phone calls, operated by the New York Telephone Company, a subsidiary of AT&T.

The building was designed by the architectural firm John Carl Warnecke & Associates, whose grand vision was to create a communication nerve center like a “20th century fortress, with spears and arrows replaced by protons and neutrons laying quiet siege to an army of machines within.” Continue reading

The Secret Mountain Our Spies Will Hide In When Washington Is Destroyed

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It’s after midnight. From this mountaintop perch, he can still see the radioactive remains of what used to be Washington, D.C., illuminating the horizon as he exits the helicopter. The nuclear glow serves as stark proof that the intelligence community failed to foresee and prevent the worst, but at least someone was smart enough to build this mountain bunker in rural Virginia for him and his fellow spies to regroup and survive. He opens the reinforced steel door and begins his descent.

This isn’t paranoid conspiracy fiction. This exact scenario was played out this week. Continue reading

Obama Administration to sign U.N. Arms Trade Treaty “In the very near future”

As we reported last month, on April 2, the United Nations General Assembly voted 153-4 to pass the Arms Trade Treaty, with the United States voting in favor and several countries abstaining. The vote in the General Assembly pushed the treaty process forward after negotiations twice failed to deliver on the goal of developing the treaty by consensus. The Obama Administration is expected to sign the treaty soon after it is opened for signature on June 3.

According to a May 16 Amnesty International article, a senior US diplomat–Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman–has confirmed the U.S. government will be quick to sign the new treaty.  According to the article, Countryman said on Wednesday that the United States would sign the ATT “in the very near future.” Continue reading