Tom Hanks is mostly known for his role in Castaway, alongside his co-star ‘Wilsoooooon!’ But it’s his recent photo on Twitter that has really captivated people. He snapped a picture of a massive building at 33 Thomas Street in Manhattan, New York City and it got people intrigued, curious, and most importantly, freaked out.
This building is operated by the New York Telephone Company, a subsidiary of AT&T.
Read more to find out.
The blacked out, windowless building deemed by locals as the ‘Long Lines Building’ is not just a typical skyscraper in the middle of New York City.
Tom Hanks seems to agree with that blunt assessment. He posted a picture of the building onto his Twitter account with the caption: ‘this is the scariest building I’ve ever seen! What goes on inside?? Hanx.’
It has no windows, stands at 29 floors with three basements, can withstand a nuclear fallout for up to two weeks, and has enough food to last 1,500 people for two weeks in the event of a catastrophe. Oh, and did I also mention that it has its own water and fuel supply?
This fortified skyscraper is not meant to be a doomsday shelter, rather, it was created to store telephone lines.
The construction of the building began in 1969 and was completed within 5 years in 1974. Since then, it has become the world’s ‘largest center for processing long-distance phone calls.’
This was at a time when a nuclear war with Russia was a real possibility (hence the capability to withstand an atomic blast.)
But it is the purpose of this building that was the reason for Tom’s tweet. Because of Edward Snowden and his whistle-blowing, documents revealed that this building also serves as an essential surveillance site for the National Security Agency.
According to these leaked documents, which code name the building as TITANPOINTE, the AT&T Building acts as an arm for the NSA in its attempts to tap into phone calls, faxes, texts, and internet data and metadata.
Although the documents obtained by Edward Snowden do not explicitly name 33 Thomas Street as a surveillance site, a combination of architectural plans, public records and interviews with former employees have shown that TITANPOINTE does indeed point to 33 Thomas Street.
It is alleged that the building not only spies on its own citizens but also targets the communications of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and at least 38 countries including Japan, Germany, and France.
According to Elizabeth Goitein, who is the co-director of the liberty and national security program at the Brennan Center for Justice, ‘this is yet more proof that our communications service providers have become, whether willingly or unwillingly, an arm of the surveillance state.’
She continued on by saying: ‘the NSA is presumably operating under authorities that enable it to target foreigners, but the fact that it is so deeply embedded in our domestic communications infrastructure should tip people off that the effects of this kind of surveillance cannot be neatly limited to non-Americans.’