Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mysterious Microwave Tower Generating Rumors

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mysterious Microwave Tower Generating Rumors

Article excerpt

FINKSBURG, Md. -- The receptionist across the street thinks it's an underground bunker. A Jiffy Mart clerk thinks it's a tunnel to the White House. And the AT&T employees who work there never say a thing.

There's a reason for the secrecy and suspicion surrounding the microwave tower in Finksburg and the four-story, windowless office building beneath it. According to an intelligence watchdog group, the complex helps keep spies from listening in on top-secret phone calls.

The office about 30 miles from Baltimore is the nerve center of a super-secret operation that keeps track of thousands of computer keys that unlock high-tech telephones used by military and government leaders, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

AT&T employees with security clearances program the keys from Finksburg and send the passwords to Washington via the 368-foot tower.

When the keys are used by President Clinton or Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, for instance, the phones transmit an electronic soup that is nearly impossible to decode. …

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