Feeds

US warrantless wiretapping predates 9/11

Fuel to the fire

High performance access to file storage

Fresh evidence has emerged that the US government's warrantless wiretapping program predates the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Secret surveillance operations that enabled the National Security Agency (NSA) to access telecommunications traffic data have been in place since the 1990s, according to the New York Times. In an attempt to gain intelligence on narcotics traffickingThe NSA forged an uneasy alliance with telcos to gather data on phone calls and emails from the US to Latin America.

The alliance between the US government and telcos to gather call records involving thousands of US and foreign citizens was constrained by legal worries and fears of public exposure. Even so, it took until 2004 for one unnamed carrier to break ranks and refuse to provide customer data, the paper reports.

Separately, US carrier Qwest refused to provide NSA spooks with access to local communications switches (a move that would have allowed surveillance of domestic phone calls without a court order) in early 2001 - before the devastating World Trade Center attacks in September that year.

Negotiations between the NSA and AT&T in February 2001 allegedly involved replicating a New Jersey network centre to allow the US signals intelligence "access to all the global phone and email traffic that ran through it". The incident has become one aspect of a lawsuit which also brings in allegations that Verizon set up a dedicated fibre-optic line from New Jersey to a large military facility in Quantico. Spooky.

An AT&T technician at the time has provided evidence supporting the allegations. However, other AT&T technicians are due to testify that the project was confined to improving internal communications within the NSA.

News that the NSA eavesdropped on the international communications of terrorism suspects making calls from the US without warrants first emerged two years ago. The latest revelations that this was a development of a much longer running practice that also involved US domestic calls come as the Bush administration is pushing Congress to pass legislation indemnifying telecoms carriers from liability in assisting law enforcement with warrantless eavesdropping programs. Since 2005, the warrantless wiretapping program has become the topic of 40 lawsuits. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.