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The secret NSA room at AT&T

Former AT&T network technician Mark Klein said that the company operated a 24 x 48-foot room in one of its network operations centers in San Francisco, where Klein discovered his employer was cooperating with the National Security Agency in the monitoring of all Internet traffic over a major backbone line.

Klein said he had first-hand knowledge of the clandestine collaboration between one giant telecommunications company, AT&T, and the National Security Agency to facilitate the most comprehensive illegal domestic spying program in history.

Klein’s allegations have been part of an ongoing class-action suit against AT&T since January 2006, funded by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. While he was not able to witness everyday goings-on in the “Secure Room,” as an engineer, Klein was privy to how the room was wired. In a June 8 sworn deposition entered into evidence in this case, he described what he saw.

In January 2003, Klein was invited to tour the Folsom Street Facility of what was then known as SBC Communications. There he saw for the first time Room 641A, categorized as the “SG3 Secure Room.” That fall, when he was hired to work at the facility, he noted that an NSA agent was interviewing field support specialists for clearance to be able to work in the Secure Room.

Employees who were cleared by the NSA were permitted to enter the SG3 Secure Room. To gain entry to the SG3 Secure Room required both a physical key for the cylinder lock and a combination code number to be entered into an electronic keypad on the door.

As part of his job there, Klein installed new circuits to a fiberoptic “splitter cabinet,” whose sole purpose, diagrams entered into evidence show, was to duplicate WorldNet service Internet traffic into SG3. The existence of this splitter suggests that the NSA had access to all the traffic on that circuit.