Last week, Wired broke the news of an affidavit filed by Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee. Klein describes a shady scenario in which the NSA came in to oversee a special hire.
“I learned that the person whom the NSA interviewed for the secret job was the person working to install equipment in this room,” Klein wrote. “The regular technician work force was not allowed in the room.”
He later observed that fiber optic cables wired to the “secret room” were piped into AT&T’s circuits.
While the president may or may not have the constitutional authority to demand domestic wiretaps, the involvement of a public corporation willingly cooperating without a warrant would seem to be a violation.
Michael Hiltzik writes in his L.A. Times weblog:
The NSA’s vacuuming of terabytes of personal data from AT&T’s network is an example of the government aggressively taking advantage of a tattered fabric of privacy protection.
Klein may seem a hero to some, for stepping forward with a smoking gun that has At&T scrambling to ask the judge to return all of their “highly classified” NSA-related documents. But as Martin McKeay reminds, Klein’s actions will be viewed by some as a criminal disclosure of government secrets.
Klein may be just a disgruntled former employee, but would he really take such a risk if he didn’t have the truth on his side?