Whistleblower Confirms He Worked On Warrantless Wiretapping Program For "A Large Wireless Company"

Another person has stepped forward to allege that a “major wireless carrier” may have aided the FBI’s warrantless wiretapping program. He claims he was brought in to work with the company on something called the Quantico Circuit, “a high-speed line from the wireless carrier to an unnamed third party. Quantico, Va., is the site of a U.S. intelligence and military base.”

“The circuit was tied to the organization’s core network,” Pasdar stated in the affidavit. “It had access to the billing system, text messaging, fraud detection, Web site, and pretty much all the systems in the data center without restrictions.”

House Commerce Committee leaders said Pasdar’s allegations echo those previously made by Mark Klein, a retired AT&T technician, in the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s lawsuit against AT&T Inc. More than three dozen lawsuits have been filed against top telecom firms, including parent companies of national mobile-phone operators AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless.

“When you put Mr. Pasdar’s information together with that of AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein, there is troubling evidence of telecom misconduct in massive domestic surveillance of ordinary Americans,” said Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Congress needs to have hearings and get some answers about whether American telecommunications companies are helping the government to illegally spy on millions of us. Retroactive immunity for telecom companies now ought to be off the table in the ongoing FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] debate.”

Unlike the Senate, the House of Representatives hasn’t (yet) granted retroactive immunity to any wireless carriers who may have released customers’ private data without permission.

“Whistleblower links wireless carrier to warrantless wiretaps” [RCRWireless News]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. Darkwish says:

    Can we sue Congress for giving immunity to the companies?

  2. azntg says:

    Don’t disappoint. Go for the gold, my Reps!

  3. esqdork says:

    Works in more places….

  4. RIP MRHANDS says:

    Whether illegal wiretapping is occurring or not, CALEA obligates telecom providers to comply with wiretapping requests which includes providing agencies with a wiretapping circuit to the appropriate agency.

    The presence of a circuit going to an LEA is not indicative of an illegal intrusion to the network.

  5. dj_skilz says:

    This is VZW

  6. SkokieGuy says:

    It seems to me the comment in the OP of “It had access to the billing system, text messaging, fraud detection, Web site, and pretty much all the systems in the data center without restrictions” makes it clear that this line removed the need for the legal checks and balances, like obtaining a warrant.

    Kinda makes fighting with receipt checkers seem trivial, huh?

  7. chartrule says:

    isn’t there a line in the US constitution that is supposta prevent this sort of thing ?

  8. catnapped says:

    @chartrule: Constitution? Sorry, Cheney shredded that ages ago.

  9. Pro-Pain says:

    US Constitution? OMG that’s soooo funny…that document has been bastardized long ago.

  10. mikelotus says:

    The Constitution hates us for our freedoms.

  11. modenastradale says:

    There is no Constitution anymore, and there hasn’t been one for a very long time. All that remains is a shifting, amorphous blob of permissions and prohibitions as determined by the day’s current group of politicians (including high court justices — they are just politicians wearing robes).

  12. spamtasticus says:

    Sweet! finally one of my tips goes up.

    Save us Ron Paul!

  13. CumaeanSibyl says:

    “Quantico Circuit”? Way to go on the stealth there, guys.

  14. RIP MRHANDS says:

    @SkokieGuy: CALEA compliance generally gives access to all of the things mentioned. The way CALEA works isn’t giving the government free-for-all access, instead, specific warrants are issued to the telecom and the equipment is programmed to send copies of voice streams, call records, messages, and etc. to the appropriate LEA.

    The FBI can’t just randomly pick out things without intervention from the telecom.

    This story is a lot of hot air. I’d be more worried about the NSA spy rooms than a typical CALEA circuit.

  15. Smitherd says:

    Just a side note, but technically, the Constitution does still “exist.” It’s just that as far as the people in question are concerned, they happen to work under the table and are therefore unaffected by it.

    If the Constitution had truly been shredded ages ago, we would be in more trouble than we think.

  16. Imhotep says:

    Skynet has been activated. War is peace. Work is Freedom. Pancakes and eggs please.

  17. Trai_Dep says:

    @RIP MRHANDS: requires the telecoms to obey lawful requests. Warrantless pleas from Dick Cheney’s office, while resplendent I’m sure, don’t meet that standard.

    Especially when they’re doing it not out of “patriotism”, but because of HUGE payments*. In fact, when the gravy train accidentally stopped (our Republican government forgot to pay their illegal wiretapping phone bill), so did the wiretaps. Until the money train started rolling again. Hardly heroic.

    * tax-payers funding the gov’t to illegally spy on millions of tax-payers. Yay!

  18. Hobart007 says:

    @catnapped

    It was shredded long before Cheney got his hands on the scraps. He just made it obvious. It seems that when one little piece is taken at a time people just let it happen.

  19. landsnark says:

    @Trai_Dep: Exactly.

    If the phone companies were required by CALEA to comply, why are they (and Bush) pushing so hard for retroactive immunity? They already have immunity if they didn’t break the law.

    Simple – both Bush and the phone companies *know* they broke the law.

  20. uberbucket says:

    ‘The U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court.’

    ‘Former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents unsealed in Denver this week.’

    The whole domestic spying agenda isn’t, nor has it ever been about fighting terrorism.

  21. REPTILE-DYSFUNCTION says:

    Can they hear me now?

  22. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    It’s time to blow shit up.

    We’re long overdue for a revolution to clean out the government corruption.

  23. tk427 says:

    @Trai_Dep: sources?

  24. TTFK says:

    It is not called whistleblowing when someone talks about a secret National Security program..

    It is called, depending on the exact circumstances, either espionage or treason.

  25. Trai_Dep says:

    @tk427: Try a bit of initiative and some independent thought, son. I Googled “wiretapping halted lack of funding” and found 40,000 of hits by CNN, Wired, NYT, USA Today etc. The Washington Post’s “Wiretaps Are Cut Over Unpaid Bills”:
    [www.washingtonpost.com]

    Or, y’know, try reading the papers sometimes? The story’s not old, and as noted, received wide coverage.

  26. tk427 says:

    @Trai_Dep: Which Washington Post is that, DAD? I could Google “911 hoax” and get 446,000 hits – Oh-My-God, man, then it must be true!

  27. YouCanEatMe says:

    @RIP MRHANDS: “Whether illegal wiretapping is occurring or not, CALEA obligates telecom providers to comply with wiretapping requests”

    Bullshit. If the telcos stood together and dug in their heels on the matter, this wiretapping NEVER would have gotten off the ground. At least not with the help of the telcos.