Feeds

US warrantless wiretapping predates 9/11

Fuel to the fire

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.