According to Wired magazine, the National Security Agency (NSA) is currently building a fortress-like structure "in the shadow of Utahs Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west" called Utah Data Centre and designed to "intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the worlds communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks."
He explains that the agency could have installed its tapping gear at the nations cable landing stations the more than two dozen sites on the periphery of the US where fiber-optic cables come ashore. If it had taken that route, the NSA would have been able to limit its eavesdropping to just international communications, which at the time was all that was allowed under US law. Instead it chose to put the wiretapping rooms at key junction points throughout the country large, windowless buildings known as switches thus gaining access to not just international communications but also to most of the domestic traffic flowing through the US. The network of intercept stations goes far beyond the single room in an AT&T building in San Francisco exposed by a whistle-blower in 2006. I think theres 10 to 20 of them, Binney says. Thats not just San Francisco; they have them in the middle of the country and also on the East Coast.
The eavesdropping on Americans doesnt stop at the telecom switches. To capture satellite communications in and out of the US, the agency also monitors AT&Ts powerful earth stations, satellite receivers in locations that include Roaring Creek and Salt Creek. Tucked away on a back road in rural Catawissa, Pennsylvania, Roaring Creeks three 105-foot dishes handle much of the countrys communications to and from Europe and the Middle East. And on an isolated stretch of land in remote Arbuckle, California, three similar dishes at the companys Salt Creek station service the Pacific Rim and Asia.
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