AT&T engineer says Bush
Administration sought to implement domestic spying within two
weeks of taking office
Monday December 17, 2007
Nearly 1,300 words into Sunday's New York Times article revealing
new details of the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping
program, the lawyer for an AT&T engineer alleges that "within
two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning
a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage.”
In a New Jersey federal court case, the engineer claims that
AT&T sought to create a phone center that would give the NSA
access to "all the global phone and e-mail traffic that ran
through" a New Jersey network hub.
The former AT&T employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity
to the Times said he took part in several discussions with agency
officials about the plan.
"The officials, he said, discussed ways to duplicate the
Bedminster system in Maryland so the agency “could listen
in” with unfettered access to communications that it believed
had intelligence value and store them for later review,"
Times reporters Eric Lichtblau, James Risen and Scott Shane wrote.
"There was no discussion of limiting the monitoring to international
communications, he said."
(Article continues below)
“At some point,” he told the paper, “I started
feeling something isn’t right.”
"Two other AT&T employees who worked on the proposal
discounted his claims, saying in interviews that the project had
simply sought to improve the N.S.A.’s internal communications
systems and was never designed to allow the agency access to outside
AT&T's spokesman said they didn't comment on national security
matters, as did a spokesman for Qwest, which was also approached
but apparently rebuffed the plan. The lawyer for the engineer
and others in the New Jersey case says AT&T's internal documents
would vindicate his clients.
“What he saw,” Bruce Afran, a New Jersey lawyer representing
the plaintiffs, told the Times, “was decisive evidence that
within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was
planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’
Times article is here.