Cyberpunk Review » WikiLeaks posts 500K pager messages from 11-Sep-01

December 2, 2009

WikiLeaks posts 500K pager messages from 11-Sep-01

Source: WikiLeaks Special 9/11 site

WikiLeaks Logo


Biggest Leak Ever.

From 3AM on Wednesday November 25, 2009, until 3AM the following day (US east coast time), WikiLeaks released half a million US national text pager intercepts. The intercepts cover a 24 hour period surrounding the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.

The messages were broadcasted “live” to the global community — sychronized to the time of day they were sent. The first message was from 3AM September 11, 2001, five hours before the first attack, and the last, 24 hours later.

Text pagers are usualy carried by persons operating in an official capacity. Messages in the archive range from Pentagon, FBI, FEMA and New York Police Department exchanges, to computers reporting faults at investment banks inside the World Trade Center

The archive is a completely objective record of the defining moment of our time. We hope that its entrance into the historical record will lead to a nuanced understanding of how this event led to death, opportunism and war.

This message, on the WikiLeaks 9/11 site (click the logo above to access), is WikiLeaks’ explanation for broadcasting some half-million intercepted pager messages. Also on the site is an index of the messages, and a zip file to download.

While WikiLeaks intentions may seem honest, there are questions concerning the pages. The most important question being:



Inquiring minds want to know. The question surrounding the pager intercepts has not gone unnoticed in DC. From

Concerned about the release of 500,000 intercepted pager messages from Sept. 11, 2001, Rep. Peter King said he plans to have his Washington staff begin a preliminary investigation.

“It does raise security issues, and we will look into it in Washington,” King (R-Seaford), the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Homeland Security, said Friday.

Note: The link may not work properly unless you disable javascript for If left enabled, you will only get the first paragraph along with requests to subscribe to see the rest.

The fact that someone had intercepted such traffic, albeit unencrypted, is giving some security people like King concerns about why such the intercepting was going on… and by whom.

Most pager users either don’t need to intercept the traffic or do not have the expertise to do so, (Phil) Lieberman (president of Lieberman Software Corp. of Los Angeles) said.

But clearly, those with the right technology can accomplish it. Literature of one pager company acknowledges that an experienced person with sophisticated equipment can break into the data transmitted for pagers.

Since, at the time, the World Trade Center was home to many financial companies, someone who has the means to intercept the pager traffic would have unprecedented access to information that could have altered markets.


History rewind… In what has to be an unfortunate timing of news stories, a story from the subscription site Wayne Madsen Report re-posted on Online Journal and Op-Ed News reminds us that someone had indeed been engaged in snooping on America’s electronic messages long before the towers came down. From writer Wayne Madsen:

National Security Agency (NSA) sources have reported to WMR that the signals intelligence agency’s warrantless wiretapping program was more widespread than originally reported and that it began shortly after the 2001 inauguration of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, some six months prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio reported that NSA requested that his firm take part in the warrantless wiretapping program in a February 27, 2001, meeting but that he told NSA that Qwest would refuse to participate. AT&T, BellSouth, SBC, Sprint, and Verizon all agreed to participate in the wiretapping program, which resulted in such a large database of intercepted calls, faxes, and e-mails, that NSA recently announced it was building a huge 1 million square feet data warehouse at a cost of $1.5 billion at Camp Williams in Utah, as well as another massive data warehouse in San Antonio. The cover story is that the warehouses are part of NSA’s new Cyber Command responsibilities. NSA sources have told WMR that the warehouses are to store the massive amount of intercepts collected by the ongoing Terrorist Surveillance Program, an above top secret program once code named STELLAR WIND by the NSA.

Nacchio was later convicted on 19 counts of insider trading of Qwest stock and sentenced to six years in federal prison. Nacchio maintained that his prosecution and conviction was in retaliation for his refusal to participate in the illegal NSA surveillance program. NSA also canceled a major contract with Qwest over its refusal to wiretap calls without warrants.


This would certainly answer who and possibly why. Following money trails to “terrorists” might seem logical, and the WTC would be the most likely spot to intercept the messages. But if it really was the NSA intercepting the pages, why post them to WikiLeaks? Did someone have a guilty conscience and wanted to come clean? Or was it the NSA’s way of saying “This is what we can find out about you, and you brain-dead sacks of sheep-shit can’t do a fucking thing about it!”

If it was the NSA, they’re not saying… and neither are their corporate allies, as one curious Indiana University grad student found out when he asked about what customers are being charged for wiretaps. From Wired:

Want to know how much phone companies and internet service providers charge to funnel your private communications or records to U.S. law enforcement and spy agencies?

That’s the question muckraker and Indiana University graduate student Christopher Soghoian asked all agencies within the Department of Justice, under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed a few months ago. But before the agencies could provide the data, Verizon and Yahoo intervened and filed an objection on grounds that, among other things, they would be ridiculed and publicly shamed were their surveillance price sheets made public.

Yahoo! claimed that releasing such information can embarrass them, while Verizon objected on the grounds that customers may get confused and scared. Like having jumbo-jets crash into buildings won’t confuse and scare people enough.

This post has been filed under War for the Nets, HackZ AttackZ!, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.


December 2, 2009

Skrýmir said:

Thank you for sharing this information. Unfortunately don’t expect any nice treatment on the internet from the gorvernmetn anymore. You can assume Propaganda is already starting to be developed to explain this to the Media.

Scorpeon said:

No offense to you, but are cyberpunk stories that hard to come by that this is all you can come up with for a story? Again, no offense to you, I’m just making a statement.

Scorpeon said:

Let me rephrase that last part: … I’m just asking a question.

December 3, 2009

XyX said:

Great post. Great Site. “Scorpeon” just die!

babaganoushe said:

Well you may already know this piece of old news, but have you heard of that big-ass e-mail hack where hackers took about 63 megabytes worth of e-mails from a reputable global climate change research centre? There are claims saying that these e-mails expose fabrication of very important statistics about carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere in relation to the rise and fall of temperatures, for the benefit of the environmentalists? They claim that records and experiments have been skewed and violate the scientific method, others discredit this all and call it skeptical propaganda and the whole accusation from taking text in the e-mails “out of context.” Well I expect everyone remotely interested in the news to know this, but just thought it would be neat to point this tidbit out in relation to leaks and invasions of privacy.

December 6, 2009

Void said:

@Mr. Roboto: sorry for spamming this article, but I desperately seek a way to contact You or SFAM. I have some questions concerning a permission to use some of content published on site. Could You please PM me at forum, or e-mail me ( I would be more than grateful.

Best regards

December 23, 2009

Skrýmir said:

Scorpeon what’s not Cyberpunk about Pager Intercepts? Wikileaks makes this and much more readily available to anyone willing to read it, Despite their German Domain host having their Houses raided and Accoused of Distribution of Pornography. Wikileaks is waging a war on information supression, manipulation, and tapping. Do you know how much your Telcom provider charges for Warantless Wiretapping, or your ISPs Site blacklist? Wikileaks probably has both. This Pager leak is a great example of how easily monitored all of our information age devices are. It’s Technology and Spying gone too far.

January 5, 2010

Pef said:

Unable to connect

Firefox can’t establish a connection to the server at

hehe , now either you made up that link , or they have been closed.

January 6, 2010

Mr No 1 said:

I should have saved that info when I had the chance…
babaganoushe, I heard about that. But then, what does exactly mean “for the benefit of the environmentalists”? What benefit? I’d say for the benefit of Earth (including us, mostly). If governments and everybody else in general lies like there’s no tomorrow for selfish and pity reasons, I don’t see any crime in lying for a higher purpose. If the masses are brainwashed to behave like monsters, brainwash them to behave like human beings. Apart from that, who knows what’s true or not nowadays. That could be just disinformation to provide more excuses to keep raping the Earth. All I know is that I can feel my lungs exploding when I stand next to an exhaust pipe.

January 9, 2010

Random said:

In truth it is very straightforward to record pager broadcasts and there are sure to be multiple non-government individuals recording all traffic as it is broadcast over the air in any major city of the US. Probably all foreign consulates and embassies also record this information.

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