Wiretap whistleblower shunned by US Congress, media

Mark Klein

Mark Klein

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Those of you who have been following the ongoing revelations about STELLAR WIND, the National Security Agency (NSA) warrantless wiretapping scheme authorized by the Bush Administration in the wake of 9/11, will know about Thomas M. Tamm. Tamm was the Justice Department official who in 2005 first notified The New York Times about the existence of the project. But Tamm was not the only whistleblower in the case. He was joined soon afterwards by another insider, Mark Klein. Klein had just retired from AT&T as a communications technician when he read The New York Times revelations about STELLAR WIND. As soon as he read the paper’s vague description of the NSA project, Klein realized he had in his possession AT&T documents describing exactly how the company shared its customers’ telephone communications with the NSA, through a secret room at the AT&T Folsom Street facility in San Francisco. To this day, Klein remains the only AT&T employee to have come forward with information on STELLAR WIND. But, apparently, nobody cares.Unlike Tamm, who is now being threatened with persecution from the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, Klein is simply being ignored. He lives quietly in a San Francisco suburb, and had to self-publish his book, titled Wiring up the Big Brother Machine, and Fighting It, describing his experience as a whistleblower, due to lack of interest from publishers. Robert McMillan, of IDG News Service’s bureau in San Francisco, spoke with Klein and published a transcript of his brief interview with the former AT&T technician. In it, Klein talks about several interesting things, including how editors at The Los Angeles Times, to whom he first entrusted the STELLAR WINDS documents, decided to kill the story after conferring with NSA official and Director of National Intelligence Nicholas Negroponte (the paper denies this). He also talks about how the members of Congress he approached didn’t want to “touch me with a 10-foot pole, starting with my own senator, Diane Feinstein, who was a key member of both the Intelligence Committee in the Senate and the Judiciary Committee”. Klein’s interview is available here. His book, which includes a foreword by James Bamford, is available from Amazon.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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