August 12, 1988: The first media report appears about Echelon, a high-tech global electronic surveillance network between the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. A surveillance network between these nations has existed since just after WW2, but its power has grown as computers have grown in power. The network has been exposed because of whistleblowers who claim it is being abused in many ways, including to spy on politicians domestically. Echelon is capable of "near total interception of international commercial and satellite communications," including taps into transoceanic cables, but it is still "impossible for analysts to listen to all but a small fraction of the billions of telephone calls, and other signals which might contain 'significant' information." The article claims a "massive, billion-dollar expansion" of the network is imminent, [New Statesman, 8/12/88] and in fact Echelon will grow rapidly in coming years. Understanding the information surveillance capabilities of the US is vital to determining what they knew or should have known about 9/11.
From the Complete 9-11 Timeline by Paul Thompson. A vital online resource for anyone wanting to investigate 911 and the war on terror.
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