Former AT&T technician Mark Klein may be our latest whistlebower-hero, along the lines of Clint Curtis. His insider's expose
, as published in Wired magazine, is a must-read. A few samples:
In 2003 AT&T built "secret rooms" hidden deep in the bowels of its central offices in various cities, housing computer gear for a government spy operation which taps into the company's popular WorldNet service and the entire internet. These installations enable the government to look at every individual message on the internet and analyze exactly what people are doing.
The normal work force of unionized technicians in the office are forbidden to enter the "secret room," which has a special combination lock on the main door. The telltale sign of an illicit government spy operation is the fact that only people with security clearance from the National Security Agency can enter this room.
Klein's revelations (backed by documents and diagrams) should be matched against this OpEd News story
by John McDonald, who tells us what's in it for AT&T:
According to Federal Elections Commission data analyzed by The Center for Responsive Politics, Telephone Utilities have given $6,762,966 to Republican Members of Congress since 2004 and more than $15 million since the 2000 election. How tough do you think the questions are going to be from a Republican Congress investigating the role of AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon in turning over the phone records of tens of millions of Americans to the NSA?
Meanwhile, AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth have given $511,955 to President Bush since his election in 2000, making him the top recipient of their political largess.
The pay-off for comes in the form of those NSA contracts, not to mention support for the attack on net neutrality.
Why the spying? To catch terrorists, we're told. And pedophiles. Terrorists and pedos: That's
why they have to track every move you make on the internet. But the Administration cannot introduce any evidence derived from this surveillance in court. Doing so would open up a challenge to the program's constitutionality. Can't risk that
So why the spying?
The crushing of dissent. Blackmail. Intimidation. After Big Wedding II, constitutional questions simply won't matter.
Every day, it becomes a little clearer that the Bush administration is running roughshod over the civil rights and liberties of the American people. Cynically manipulating the events of 9/11 to crush any opposition, the Bush administration is engaged in an unprecedented effort to consolidate presidential power that threatens the very Democratic principals and institutions that have fostered a free America. What’s next, arresting journalists? When will they round up the Bloggers in their pajamas?