A lawsuit was filed in federal court in New Jersey challenging [NSA's] wiretapping operations. It claims that in February 2001...N.S.A. met with AT&T officials to discuss replicating a network center in Bedminster, N.J., to give the agency access to all the global phone and e-mail traffic that ran through it.As with many of the other programs described in the article, note the date: February 2001. That's before 9/11. Read the whole thing.
The accusations rely in large part on the assertions of a former engineer on the project. The engineer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said in an interview that he participated in numerous discussions with N.S.A. officials about the proposal. The officials, he said, discussed ways to duplicate the Bedminster system in Maryland so the agency "could listen in" with unfettered access to communications that it believed had intelligence value and store them for later review. There was no discussion of limiting the monitoring to international communications, he said.
"At some point," he said, "I started feeling something isn't right."