For many years New Yorkers’ didn’t know what to think about 33 Thomas Street. The building at that address has been referred to by many as the Long Lines Building. It is one of the city’s weirdest and most iconic buildings, although little information has been published regarding its purpose. Most New Yorkers assumed the building to be nothing more than a hub for AT&T.
The Project X building turns out to actually be one of the most important surveillance facilities for the National Security Agency (NSA). Project X was constructed to withstand an atomic blast and provide emergency accommodations, as well as a 2-week food supply, for 1,500 people.
Inside the building, the NSA works with AT&T to conduct mass surveillance. Documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden do not specifically name 33 Thomas Street as a surveillance facility, however architectural plans, public records, and interviews conducted with former AT&T employees provide evidence that the building has served as an NSA surveillance site named TITANPOINTE.
According to a former AT&T engineer, there is a major international gateway switch inside the facility. The switch routes phone calls between the United States and abroad. Several top secret NSA memos suggest that those calls have been tapped by the NSA from within the building. The skyscraper is apparently a core location used by the NSA to conduct a controversial surveillance program targeting the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and at least 38 countries, including close allies.
John Carl Warnecke designed the building. He is a prominent architect in government circles, with US Navy and US embassy complexes on his resume. The NSA began developing commercial partnerships in the 1970s as part of a secret program. Project X was born as part of that project under the code name BLARNEY.
BLARNEY gains access to, and exploits foreign intelligence obtained from global networks through the aid of commercial partnerships. It carries out full take surveillance, which refers to the bulk collection of content and metadata falling under 6 categories. The categories where data is collected include counter proliferation, counterterrorism, diplomatic, military and political.
TITANPOINTE is a core site of the BLARNEY program, where AT&T routers and powerful satellite antennae vacuum up internet data passing through foreign satellites. That is also refered to as secret program SKIDROWE. Although it’s unclear whether the NSA can directly tap AT&T’s communications at will, the telecom giant has been a willing partner to the surveillance state. In 1976 President Ford shielded AT&T from scrutiny by referring to the company as “an agent of the United States acting under contract with the Executive Branch.”