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First Look Institute is a c 3 nonprofit organization. T he secrets are hidden behind fortified walls in cities across the United States, inside towering, windowless skyscrapers and fortress-like concrete structures that were built to withstand earthquakes and even nuclear attack. Thousands of people pass by the buildings each day and rarely give them a second glance, because their function is not publicly known.
But few details have been disclosed about the physical infrastructure that enables the spying. Now, we are revealing for the first time a series of other buildings across the U. If one network in a specific area of the country is overloaded with data traffic, another operator with capacity to spare can sell or exchange bandwidth, reducing the strain on the congested region.
They are also highly valued by the NSA, documents indicate. In all cases, we ensure that requests for assistance are valid and that we act in compliance with the law. The maps The Intercept used to identify the internet surveillance hubs. T he eight locations are featured on a top-secret NSA map, which depicts U. Elsewhere, 420 and nsa now the west coast of the U.
He would not confirm or deny the exact locations of the eight peering sites identified by The Intercept or discuss the classified work he carried out while with the company. The source, citing direct knowledge of the facilities and their function, verified the addresses of the buildings in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, and Washington, D. Long said that, at the time, he felt suspicious of the changes, because they were unusual and unnecessary. Once the internet traffic arrives on U. As of Marchsome petabytes of data — the equivalent of more than 49 trillion s of text, or 60 billion average-sized mp3 files — traveled across its networks every business day.
The company worked with the NSA to rank communications flowing through its networks on the basis of intelligence value, prioritizing data depending on which country it was derived from, according to a top-secret agency document. Graphic: NSA. From there, the data is then transferred about miles southwest to its final destination: NSA headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland.
Bottom left: Henrik Moltke. Bottom right: Frank Heath.
The agency has broad legal powers to monitor s, phone calls, and other forms of correspondence as they are being transported across the U. Without an individualized court order, it is illegal for the NSA to spy on communications that are wholly domestic, such as s sent back and forth between two Americans living in Texas. InCongress weighed into the dispute and controversially authorized elements of the warrantless wiretapping program by enacting Section of the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act, or FISA.
Filtering technology is often used by internet providers for security reasons, enabling them to keep tabs on problems with their networks, block out spam, or monitor hacking attacks. But the same tools can be used for government surveillance. But this process is not an exact science, as people can use privacy or anonymity tools to change or spoof their IP addresses. A person in Israel could use privacy software to masquerade as if they were accessing the internet in the U.
Likewise, an internet user in the U. 420 and nsa now a consequence, Judge John D. But the cautionary banner did not solve the problem. The upstream method involves tapping into communications as they are passing across internet networks — precisely the kind of electronic eavesdropping that appears to have taken place at the eight locations identified by The Intercept.
The Atlanta facility is likely of strategic importance for the NSA. From undersea cables that come aground at Miami, huge flows of data pass between the U. It is probable that much of that data is routed through the Atlanta facility as it is being sent to and from the U.
Photo: Henrik Moltke. Today, the facility contains six large V yellow Caterpillar generators that can provide backup electricity in the event of a power failure, according to the Chicago Sun Times. NSA documents explicitly describe tapping into flows of data at all eight of these sites. Photo: Mike Osborne.
Located between Chinatown and the Staples Center, the fortress-like structure is one of the largest telephone central offices in the U. Due to the close proximity of the Madison Complex and One Wilshire, and their shared role as telecommunications hubs, it is likely that the buildings process some of the same data as it is being routed across U. We thought we were routing our circuits so that they could grab all the data. It is not the first time the building has been implicated in revelations about electronic eavesdropping.
It was also linked, he said, to an internet exchange named MAE West, a major data hub in San Jose, California, where other companies connect their networks together. Sprint did not respond to a request for comment. Historically, the facility was an important communications switching point in the northwest of the U. Twenty-five miles north of Seattle, there is a major intercontinental undersea cable called Pacific Crossing-1, which routes communications between the U. Photo: Jovelle Tamayo for The Intercept. Documents Documents published with this article:. The U. The Indian government has been increasingly wielding an anti-terror law against rights activists, journalists, and dissenters in Kashmir.
All rights reserved First Look Institute is a c 3 nonprofit organization. The Wiretap Rooms. Ryan Gallagher Henrik Moltke. Ryan GallagherHenrik Moltke. A large portion of the data and communications that pass across the cables is routed at one point through the U. Photo: Frank Heath. Atlanta 51 Peachtree Center Avenue. The art deco structure, made of limestone, was deed to be the largest in the city at the time at 25 stories tall. However, due to the Great Depression, plans were scaled back and at first, it only had six stories. Between andthe building was upgraded to host 14 stories, and a large brown microwave tower — visible for miles — was also 420 and nsa now.
Chicago 10 South Canal Street. The foot skyscraper, located in the West Loop Gate area of the city, was completed in There are windows at both the top and bottom of the vast concrete structure, but 18 of its 28 floors are windowless. Dallas Bryan Street. Built init is a light yellow-brown color with a granite foundation. Large vents are visible on the exterior of the building, as are several narrow windows, many of which appear to have been blacked out or covered in a reflective privacy glass.
According to the Central Office websitewhich profiles telecommunications buildings across the U. Los Angeles South Grand Avenue. It has since been dwarfed by a of corporate office skyscrapers in the surrounding Financial District. The foot, story building is beige, rectangular, and mostly windowless. On its roof, there is a large microwave tower, which was originally used to transmit phone calls across a network of antennae. It remains in place today as a sort of monument to outdated methods of communication and stands in contrast to the more modern buildings in the vicinity, many of them owned by banks.
The Madison Complex is located just two blocks from One Wilshire, which houses what is reportedly the most important internet exchange on the U. New York City 10th Avenue. Aerial shot of 10th street, NYC, ca. San Francisco Folsom Street. Photo: Mark Klein. Seattle 3rd Avenue. The gray building is 15 stories tall, with a dozen rows of narrow, blacked-out windows and vents that rise to its peak.
According to public recordsit was first constructed in and has reinforced concrete foundations and exterior walls that are supported 420 and nsa now a steel frame. Washington, D. The building is a large, concrete, rectangular-shaped facility with few windows, located less than a mile south of the U.
Capitol Police has an office located opposite the telecommunications hub, and a large of police vehicles are usually located around the site. When The Intercept visited the facility to take photographs earlier this year, within a few minutes, several armed police officers arrived on the scene with dogs. They questioned our reporter, searched his car, and said that the building was considered critical infrastructure. Consider what the world of media would look like without The Intercept.
Who would hold party elites able to the values they proclaim to have? The kind of reporting we do is essential to democracy, but it is not easy, cheap, or profitable. The Intercept is an independent nonprofit news outlet. Become a Member. Latest Stories.420 and nsa now
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