'Israel tasked with spying on Americans'

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the White House launched a massive program to spy on millions of Americans, best-selling author James Bamford has claimed in his latest book, The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America.

Bamford is a celebrated journalist who writes about US intelligence agencies.

According to the author, the National Security Agency (NSA) was tasked with monitoring 'billions of private hard-line, cell, and wireless telephone conversations; text, e-mail and instant Internet messages; Web-page histories, faxes, and computer hard drives'.

The two largest American telecom companies AT&T and Verizon collaborated with the NSA, assisting the federal government in eavesdropping on their customers.

Bamford maintains that the bugging of the entire two networks, 'carrying billions of American communications every day', were handed to two companies founded in Israel.

Verint and Narus, the two Israeli corporations, are 'super intrusive -- conducting mass surveillance on both international and domestic communications 24/7,' and sifting traffic at 'key Internet gateways' around the US, Bamford claims.

Activists Challenge NSA Surveillance


Nov 18, 4:20 AM EST

Activists to Question NSA Surveillance

Associated Press Writer

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Thirteen anti-war activists cited in July for protesting outside the National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade plan to use their trial to question the agency's monitoring of nonviolent groups.

The activists are charged with entering a military installation for illegal purposes, which carries a maximum six-month sentence and a $5,000 fine.

Six were arraigned Friday at U.S. District Court in Baltimore. The other seven were granted waivers that excuse them from appearing in court until their trial, which is scheduled for Feb. 9, said Max Obuszewski, one of the activists who was arraigned.

"We're going to try to turn this into a political trial," Obuszewski said.

Internal NSA e-mails posted on the Internet in January revealed the agency used local law enforcement to monitor a previous protest by the Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore, to which Obuszewski belongs. The e-mails appeared to show that the protesters were closely watched as they assembled in Baltimore and traveled to the agency's headquarters for a previous protest in 2004.