National Security Agency (NSA) sources have reported to WMR that the signals intelligence agency's warrantless wiretapping program was more widespread than originally reported and that it began shortly after the 2001 inauguration of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, some six months prior to the 9/11 attacks.
Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio reported that NSA requested that his firm take part in the warrantless wiretapping program in a February 27, 2001, meeting but that he told NSA that Qwest would refuse to participate. AT&T, BellSouth, SBC, Sprint, and Verizon all agreed to participate in the wiretapping program, which resulted in such a large database of intercepted calls, faxes, and e-mails, that NSA recently announced it was building a huge 1 million square feet data warehouse at a cost of $1.5 billion at Camp Williams in Utah, as well as another massive data warehouse in San Antonio. The cover story is that the warehouses are part of NSA's new Cyber Command responsibilities. NSA sources have told WMR that the warehouses are to store the massive amount of intercepts collected by the ongoing Terrorist Surveillance Program, an above top secret program once code named STELLAR WIND by the NSA.
Nacchio was later convicted on 19 counts of insider trading of Qwest stock and sentenced to six years in federal prison. Nacchio maintained that his prosecution and conviction was in retaliation for his refusal to participate in the illegal NSA surveillance program. NSA also canceled a major contract with Qwest over its refusal to wiretap calls without warrants.
President Obama ordered his Justice Department's attorneys to press U.S. Judge Vaughn Walker to toss out a lawsuit brought against the Bush administration's warrantless wiretap program, details of which were revealed by AT&T engineer Mark Klein. Our NSA sources revealed that Obama has asked the lawsuit to be dismissed because the warrantless wiretapping program is as robust in collecting massive amounts of intercepted communications without a warrant under Obama as it did during the Bush-Cheney administration. Obama also backs immunity from lawsuits for telecommunications companies participating in the illegal surveillance operations. The Justice Department is using the draconian State Secrets Privilege to battle against lawsuits against the telecommunication carriers.
NSA collects domestic communications by installing specialized eavesdropping equipment, including traffic analyzers, at over 25 telecommunications facilities around the United States, including where Klein worked at AT&T's central office in the SBC Building at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco and at major switching facilities in Bridgeton, Missouri; San Jose; San Diego; Seattle; Los Angeles (1150 South Olive Street, as well as the Beverly Hills central office that targets the area's rich and famous celebrities); Chicago (227 West Monroe Street); New York (Lower Manhattan at 33 Thomas Street, 375 Pearl Street, and 811 10th Avenue); Northern Virginia/Washington, DC; Miami; Atlanta (Midtown Center); Houston; Minneapolis; Detroit (1365 Cass Avenue); Jacksonville, Florida; Philadelphia; Kansas City; Dallas (One AT&T Plaza); Memphis; Pittsburgh; Bedminster, New Jersey; Boston; Nashville (333 Commerce Street); Baltimore; Cleveland (Huron Road Building); and Denver.
One of the first targets of the NSA warrantless wiretapping program in February 2001, a few weeks after Bush's inauguration, was Iraqi-Americans and other Arab-Americans, as well as resident aliens from Arab countries in the United States. The warrantless wiretapping of the Arab-American community coincided with 'surge operations' directed by NSA against the communications of Saddam Hussein and his top government officials in Iraq and other countries.
The NSA warrantless wiretapping program soon grew to include millions of Americans, including elected and appointed government officials, federal judges, anti-Bush celebrities and clergy, and even intelligence and law enforcement officials. WMR previously reported that a joint NSA-CIA database code-named FIRST FRUITS maintained a database on the intercepted phone calls of U.S. journalists.
WMR previously reported that NSA 'fishnet' surveillance was used in the take down of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, as well as political dirt gathering directed against New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Secretary of State Colin Powell, and then-Senator Joe Biden. There is also every indication that NSA intercepted the phone calls and emails of the junior senator from Illinois -- one Barack Obama.