by Saagar Enjeti
The National Security Agency may be running a cover spying operation out of a communications skyscraper in lower Manhattan, The Intercept reports.
Leaked NSA documents indicate the skyscraper, located at 33 Thomas Street, may be NSA surveillance site known as TITANPOINTE. TITANPOINTE is tasked with monitoring the communications of international organizations and other foreign governments.
The Intercept investigation indicates the skyscraper is the worlds largest processing center for international long distance phone calls, and operated by a subsidiary of AT&T. The building has no windows, is not illuminated, and reportedly built to protect humans inside from toxic radiation in the event of nuclear war.
The architect commissioned to design the building described the original vision as a “20th century fortress, with spears and arrows replaced by protons and neutrons laying quiet siege to an army of machines within.”
The Intercept’s review of leaked documents by Edward Snowden reveal that TITANPOINTE is located in New York City, and confirms that the TITANPOINTE facility is operated by a codename previously used by AT&T.
NSA documents reveal the TITANPOINTE facility is part of a broader NSA program to monitor international satellite communications.
“This is yet more proof that our communications service providers have become, whether willingly or unwillingly, an arm of the surveillance state,” Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the liberty and national security program at the Brennan Center for Justice told The Intercept.
Goitein continued, “The NSA is presumably operating under authorities that enable it to target foreigners, but the fact that it is so deeply embedded in our domestic communications infrastructure should tip people off that the effects of this kind of surveillance cannot be neatly limited to non-Americans.”
The revelation of the Manhattan based facility is similar to Snowden’s previous exposing of a secret Scottish facility used by British intelligence for mass surveillance. The Scottish facility reportedly collected private metadata, and shared it with Britain’s intelligence agencies. Britain’s intelligence agencies in turn widely share the information with the NSA.