News 4 Investigates: The Secret Room - KMOV.com

News 4 Investigates: The Secret Room

Is anyone looking over you shoulder while you read this?

No?

Are you sure?

A number of former AT&T employees who have come forward as whistleblowers say the government is spying on your internet use... right now.

Some of them have spoken up as un-named sources in various media outlets. Some have spoken to me on an off-the-record basis. And some have laid it all on the line to tell their story to the world.

Mark Klein falls into that third category.

A former technician at the AT&T switching office in San Francisco, Klein was responsible for making sure the internet kept running. He monitored cables and routers and was the troubleshooter when things went awry.

But as the man responsible for keeping all those cables straight -- so to speak -- Klein was concerned by a set of fiber optic lines that split off from the main internet pipe into what he called "the secret room."

The secret room is a windowless space that contained some mysterious equipment few people discussed. The door is secured with a strange combination lock.

Klein never went inside the secret room, but because it was his job to keep the internet flowing, he knew what data went inside... and that's why Klein says he had to blow the whistle.

According to Klein, the secret room was an intercept point for all the internet traffic flowing through San Francisco. The equipment in that room was making an exact copy of all the web surfing, e-mailing, instant messaging, video chatting... you name it... flowing over the AT&T network.

He eventually learned similar rooms existed in AT&T facilities across the country.

After leaving AT&T, Klein blew the whistle and signed on to a lawsuit against AT&T for it complicity in what he called illegal spying on American citizens.

You can read Klein's statement in support of the lawsuit in its entirety.

What's so special about Bridgeton?

Because Bridgeton plays a crucial role on the AT&T internet network, Klein speculates it would play a similarly key role on a "secret network" connecting all those secret rooms.

Two former Bridgeton employees came forward as un-named sources in a 2006 salon.com article about the St. Louis County facility's role in an alleged spying program.

I also spoke with two former Bridgeton AT&T workers who confirmed the building is home to a "secret room" that no one seems to enter.

AT&T has had little to say about these allegations. The company's response has consistently been along the lines of "we do not comment on matters of national security, but everything we do to help the government is completely legal."

A spokeman for AT&T never returned my calls seeking comment.

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