Salon has a new article about the NSA spying scandal (icky day pass thing required). It adds to earlier reports by whistleblower Mark Klein, and it includes the same type “secret room” that requires top secret access:

The details provided by the two former workers about the Bridgeton room bear the distinctive earmarks of an operation run by the National Security Agency, according to two intelligence experts with extensive knowledge of the NSA and its operations. In addition to the room’s high-tech security, those intelligence experts told Salon, the exhaustive vetting process AT&T workers were put through before being granted top-secret security clearance points to the NSA, an agency known as much for its intense secrecy as its technological sophistication.

“It was very hush-hush,” said one of the former AT&T workers. “We were told there was going to be some government personnel working in that room. We were told, ‘Do not try to speak to them. Do not hamper their work. Do not impede anything that they’re doing.’”

The importance of the Bridgeton facility is its role in managing the “common backbone” for all of AT&T’s Internet operations. According to one of the former workers, Bridgeton serves as the technical command center from which the company manages all the routers and circuits carrying the company’s domestic and international Internet traffic. Therefore, Bridgeton could be instrumental for conducting surveillance or collecting data.

They’re listening in on a backbone, so that means they’re catching a massive amount of internet traffic. It’s no doubt being filtered and entered into a database for later search and retrieval. Scary stuff. The government should not be allowed to do this without explicit congressional approval. But this is George Bush’s America, and he’s considered to be above the law by his allies. Personally, I think this is either insanity and paranoia or a deliberate step towards dictatorship and totalitarianism.


 

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