The NSA’s Hidden Spy Hubs in Eight U.S. Cities

THE SECRETS ARE hidden behind fortified walls in cities across the United States, inside towering, windowless skyscrapers and fortress-like concrete structures that were built to withstand earthquakes and even nuclear attack. Thousands of people pass by the buildings each day and rarely give them a second glance, because their function is not publicly known. They are an integral part of one of the world’s largest telecommunications networks – and they are also linked to a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program.

Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. In each of these cities, The Intercept has identified an AT&T facility containing networking equipment that transports large quantities of internet traffic across the United States and the world. A body of evidence – including classified NSA documents, public records, and interviews with several former AT&T employees – indicates that the buildings are central to an NSA spying initiative that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.

The NSA considers AT&T to be one of its most trusted partners and has lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.” It is a collaboration that dates back decades. Little known, however, is that its scope is not restricted to AT&T’s customers. According to the NSA’s documents, it values AT&T not only because it “has access to information that transits the nation,” but also because it maintains unique relationships with other phone and internet providers. The NSA exploits these relationships for surveillance purposes, commandeering AT&T’s massive infrastructure and using it as a platform to covertly tap into communications processed by other companies.

Continue Reading at “The Intercept

Advertisements

Vault 7 and The Death of Michael Hastings?

Journalist Michael Hasting died in the early morning June 18, 2013 when his Mercedes C250 mysteriously went out of control and crashed into a palm tree bursting into flames after having been seen traveling at a very high rate of speed on a residential street.

Immediately after, WikiLeaks released two messages on Twitter that added fuel to the fire:

“Michael Hastings’ death has a very serious non-public complication. We will have more details later,” said the first. Two hours later, WikiLeaks tweeted more specific information:

“Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him,” the second message read.

It was speculated by others that Hastings was working on a story about Drone Surveillance in the U.S.

Three years into the disappearance of Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan, Michael Hastings — the journalist whose reporting cost General Stanley McChrystal his job — wrote a Rolling Stone story on the missing soldier, a piece which the magazine called “the definitive first account of Bowe Bergdahl.”

Today, it’s noted in the WikiLeaks data dump: “As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.” The phrasing “as of October 2014” does not preclude the earlier existence of such an ability.

Is it possible, as some have speculated, that the electronic systems on Hasting’s C250 had been “hijacked?” This WikiLeaks release does nothing to refute that contention.

Read more at: https://wikileaks.org/ciav7p1/

Emergency Communications Preparedness

Attention Folks! This ARRL Letter gives emphasis to a number of vulnerabilities that most people share, the inavailability of an extreme emergency communication capability. While many are “wrapped around the axle” with cellular technology, they may be forgetting not only about coverage “dead spots” but, most especially, about how cellular became essentially unusable just after the 9/11 event for many reasons including the calling log-jam that exceeded traffic handling capabilities.

Additionally, complicating matters in a severe power-down scenario, cellular towers have a limited power backup capability:

“[T]he FCC imposes ‘specific mandates’ on wireless carriers including ‘backup electric power at most cell sites.’ Therefore, cell towers typically have battery backup arrangements that support operations for TWO TO FOUR HOURS, depending upon call traffic.” [emphasis added] (source: http://www.ehow.com/about_5397187_do-phones-work-power-outages.html)

One may want to strongly consider amateur radio as a key part of their communications planning. With today’s technology, one may acquire a good, hand-held radio for under $50. Also, the extensive networking of radio repeaters, their much more robust power backup capabilities, the ability to talk directly, radio to radio, the ability to link real-time GPS data to mobile mounted radios, the license exam fee of only $16.00, and a plethora of excellent free license study programs via the Internet all argue strongly in favor of adopting the “hobby.” Oh! And no monthly subscription costs either!

The story within this attached letter offers an excellent example of the extreme value of being prepared with the right communications abiity. http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2013-11-07