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AT&T helped the NSA in spy on Internet users: New York Times

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Telecommunications powerhouse AT&T Inc <T.N> has provided extensive assistance to the U.S. National Security Agency as the spy agency conducts surveillance on huge volumes of Internet traffic passing through the United States, the New York Times reported on Saturday, citing newly disclosed NSA documents.

The newspaper reported that the company gave technical assistance to the NSA in carrying out a secret court order allowing wiretapping of all Internet communications at the headquarters of the United Nations, an AT&T customer.

The documents date from 2003 to 2013 and were provided by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the Times reported.

The company helped the spy agency in a broad range of classified activities, the newspaper reported.

The documents describe how the NSA’s working relationship with AT&T has been particularly important, enabling the agency to conduct surveillance, under various legal rules, of international and foreign-to-foreign Internet communications that passed through network hubs in the United States.

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AT&T installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its U.S. Internet hubs, far more than competitor Verizon Communications Inc <VZ.N>, the Times reported. AT&T engineers also were the first to use new surveillance technologies invented by the NSA, the Times reported.

“This is a partnership, not a contractual relationship,” according to one NSA document describing the link between the agency and the company.

AT&T’s “corporate relationships provide unique accesses to other telecoms and I.S.P.s,” or Internet service providers, according to another NSA document.

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AT&T started in 2011 to provide the NSA more than 1.1 billion domestic cellphone calling records daily after “a push to get this flow operational prior to the 10th anniversary of 9/11,” referring to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, the Times reported.

AT&T’s providing of foreign-to-foreign Internet traffic has been especially important to the NSA because large amounts of the world’s Internet communications pass across U.S. cables, the Times reported. The company gave access to contents of transiting email traffic years before Verizon started in March 2013, the Times reported.

Asked to comment on the Times report, AT&T spokesman Brad Burns told Reuters by email: “We do not voluntarily provide information to any investigating authorities other than if a person’s life is in danger and time is of the essence. For example, in a kidnapping situation we could provide help tracking down called numbers to assist law enforcement.”

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Burns said AT&T would have nothing further to say on the report.


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GOP strategist delivers devastating analysis of Trump’s ‘Make America White Again’ agenda on CNN

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Republican strategist Tara Setmayer on Tuesday delivered a brutal analysis of President Donald Trump's strategy to win reelection, which she dubbed "Make America White Again."

During a panel discussion on Trump ramping up his racist attacks on four Democratic women of color, Setmayer argued that appealing solely to angry white voters was the only hope he had of winning in 2020.

"It's 'Make America White Again,' according to the president of the United States, because everyone in the country is not welcome," she said. "If you have a deference of opinion, you're not welcome."

She then went on to document all the ways Trump is uniquely unfit to judge who does and does not belong in the United States.

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Trump raked over the coals by WSJ for ‘politically stupid’ racist comments debacle

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In a brutally blunt column from the conservative editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, the editors scolded Donald Trump for being "politically stupid" by wading into a dispute between factions within the Democratic Party that has blown up in his face.

Under a headline reading, "Defining Politics Down," the editorial seemed less concerned with Trump's racist attacks and more with the fact that he has made his racism front and center as the country gears up for the 2020 election.

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Dear NeverTrumpers: Either help or STFU

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Bill Kristol Max Boot David Frum
Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed that the NeverTrumpers — repentant Republicans and conservatives — have been offering up lots of advice for how the Democrats can win the next election. Their jackhammer advice has basically been limited to urging the party to disavow its activist, progressive members in order to secure the contrarian swing voters who cast ballots for Barack Obama twice, then switched to Donald Trump in 2016.

Before I offer up a come-to-Jesus moment for the NeverTrumpers, let me say that as many of you know, I’ve defended members of this exiled faction in the past, and continue to stand by the idea that we need to form a coalition to close the loopholes exposed by Donald Trump’s malfeasance as a means of preventing another, perhaps more dangerous monster from sashaying through the Trump-shaped hole in the wall. To be clear: I’m not talking about conceding on policy or platform planks. I’m merely suggesting a detente between voices who all agree that Trump is a menace and his presidency is an existential national crisis.

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