The 29-story brutalist Tribeca skyscraper at 33 Thomas Street invites passersby to guess what’s behind its windowless concrete walls.
Designed by architect Carl Warnecke and completed in 1974, the “Long Lines Building” operates as one of AT&T’s largest telecommunication hubs in the U.S. It has three subterranean floors and is capable of withstanding an atomic blast.
But a recent report from the Intercept suggests that the mystery surrounding the building is warranted: that it is, in fact, a stealth NSA surveillance site.
According to an analysis of the documents released by Edward Snowden in 2013, 33 Thomas Street is likely an NSA site code named TITANPOINTE. If that’s the case, the AT&T building is a core location used for a controversial NSA surveillance program (code name: BLARNEY) that has targeted the communications of among others, the United Nations, the World Bank, and at least 38 countries, including U.S. allies like Japan, Germany and Mexico.
According to the documents, inside the TITANPOINTE site, NSA equipment is stored in a secure room and is linked to routers of its “access partner,” or AT&T. The data was collected form “foreign gateway switches,” processed on site and then forwarded to NSA’s headquarters in Maryland.
The building is home to AT&T’s massive telecommunication hub, which process hundreds of million of domestic and international calls, making it an ideal location for the NSA to tap into foreign communications.
Another clue that TITANPOINTE is 33 Thomas Street is that documents show that TITANPOINTE was involved in another NSA program which sweeps up internet data by intercepting satellite communications. The Thomas Street building, which has several satellite dishes on its roof, is the only AT&T location with an FCC license for satellite earth stations.
A final detail: Carl Warnecke’s plans for the the cold-war era building intended to prepare it to become a “self-contained city” in the event of a cataclysmic attack. So there’s that. [Intercept] — Chava Gourarie