13:49 GMT17 February 2020
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    The US government cannot deny enlisting private companies for espionage, given recent revelations by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden on AT&T’s collusion with the NSA, former AT&T technician turned whistleblower Mark Klein told Sputnik on Monday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein — On Saturday, The New York Times published a story detailing the close collaboration between telecommunications giant AT&T and the NSA.

    According to documents provided by Snowden, AT&T maintained a "highly collaborative" relationship with the NSA on a broad range of classified activities, including tapping all internet communications from certain customers.

    "Snowden blew the government out of the water because he had documents from the ‘horse’s mouth’ — the NSA — which cannot be denied by the government, and it’s a good thing it’s now all out there," Klein said.

    The program is known to have been operational from 2003 until at least 2013, when Snowden left the NSA.

    Klein said he feels "vindicated" over the release of the latest Snowden leaks on AT&T.

    "Back in 2006, when I came forward, I was a lonely voice, and people tried to dismiss me because I wasn’t an ‘insider,’" Klein said.

    Klein was formerly a line technician at AT&T's San Francisco corporate office. Before retiring in 2004, Klein documented evidence of the NSA working with non-union AT&T technicians to tap the company’s main internet data stream.

    At the time he alleged AT&T had installed "spying gear" to collect internet communications data.

    According to the Snowden documents, leaked over the weekend, AT&T installed surveillance equipment in at least 17 of its US-based internet hubs. The reach of the NSA-AT&T partnership is more than twice as large as the partnership exposed in 2013 between the spy agency and Verizon.

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    National Security Agency (NSA), AT&T
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