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NSA's Austrian Surveillance Stations

Lecture with Areal Images

By far the largest facility of the US secret services is located at the Königswarte on the Slovakian border. During the Cold War, the Königswarte served as a listening post along the Iron Curtain close to Hainburg, and allowed the Allies to wiretap analog radio transmissions of telecommunications and military communications in the East. In 2001, new and different antennas began to appear on the site of the Königswarte: huge parabolic mirrors which are directed towards the sky. The largest of these high-performance mirrors have a diameter of more than ten meters. To date there are 18, all of which target civilian communication satellites. An enormous subterranean data center is located underneath the Königswarte. This can be clearly seen in the aerial photographs. Additionally, a hitherto undocumented US "communication station" was discovered on the roof of a tall building right next to the Vienna International Centre. Both facilities are mentioned via code names in the documents leaked by Edward Snowden. We can now guess what type of data is intercepted, processed and shared from these and other locations such as the U.S. Embassy in Vienna and the "NSA Villa".

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