National Security Agency
Seal of the National Security Agency
Flag of the National Security Agency
|Formed||November 4, 1952|
|Preceding Agency||Armed Forces Security Agency|
Fort Meade, Maryland, U.S.
|Motto||"Defending Our Nation. Securing The Future."|
|Employees||Classified (30,000-40,000 estimate)|
|Annual budget||Classified (estimated $10.8 billion, 2013)|
Admiral Michael S. Rogers, U.S. Navy, Director of the National Security Agency
Richard Ledgett, Deputy Director of the National Security Agency
|Parent agency||United States Department of Defense|
National Security Agency surveillance
The National Security Agency (NSA) is a U.S. intelligence agency responsible for global monitoring, collection, decoding, translation and analysis of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes - a discipline known as Signals intelligence (SIGINT). NSA is also charged with protection of U.S. government communications and information systems against penetration and network warfare. The agency is authorized to accomplish its mission through clandestine means, among which are bugging electronic systems and allegedly engaging in sabotage through subversive software.
Originating as a unit to decipher coded communications in warrants from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret court created for that purpose under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
One such surveillance program, authorized by the U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive 18 of President George Bush, was the Highlander Project undertaken for the National Security Agency by the U.S. Army 513th Military Intelligence Brigade. NSA relayed telephone (including cell phone) conversations obtained from ground, airborne, and satellite monitoring stations to various U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Officers, including the 201st Military Intelligence Battalion. Conversations of citizens of the U.S. were intercepted, along with those of other nations.
Proponents of the surveillance program claim that the President has executive authority to order such action, arguing that laws such as FISA are overridden by the President's Constitutional powers. In addition, some argued that FISA was implicitly overridden by a subsequent statute, the Authorization for Use of Military Force, although the Supreme Court's ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld deprecates this view. In the August 2006 case ACLU v. NSA, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor concluded that NSA's warrantless surveillance program was both illegal and unconstitutional. On July 6, 2007 the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the decision on the grounds that the ACLU lacked standing to bring the suit.
On January 17, 2006, the
- Official website
- National Security Agency - 60 Years of Defending Our Nation
- Records of the National Security Agency/Central Security Service
- The National Security Archive at George Washington University
- "United States Intelligence Community: Who We Are / NSA section". Archived from the original on September 25, 2006.
- The NSA's secret org chart
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- Liston, Robert A., The Pueblo Surrender: a Covert Action by the National Security Agency, ISBN 0-87131-554-8.
- Kahn, David, The Codebreakers, 1181 pp., ISBN 0-684-83130-9. Look for the 1967 rather than the 1996 edition.
- Tully, Andrew, The Super Spies: More Secret, More Powerful than the CIA, 1969, LC 71080912.
- Bamford, James, New York Times, December 25, 2005; The Agency That Could Be Big Brother.
- Adams, Sam, War of Numbers: An Intelligence Memoir Steerforth; new edition (June 1, 1998).
- Prados, John, The Soviet estimate: U.S. intelligence analysis & Russian military strength, hardcover, 367 pages, ISBN 0-385-27211-1, Dial Press (1982).
- Perro, Ralph J. "Interviewing With An Intelligence Agency (or, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Fort Meade)." (Archive) Federation of American Scientists. November 2003. Updated January 2004. - About the experience of a candidate of an NSA job in pre-employment screening.
- Laqueur, Walter, A World of secrets.
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- Aid, Matthew, The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency, 432 pages, ISBN 978-1-59691-515-2, Bloomsbury Press (June 9, 2009).
- Shaker, Richard J. "The Agency That Came in from the Cold." (Archive, Archive #2) Notices. American Mathematical Society. May/June 1992 pp. 408–411.
- Jackson, David (June 18, 2013). "'"Obama: NSA surveillance programs are 'transparent.
- "National Security Agency Releases History of Cold War Intelligence Activities." George Washington University. National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 260. Posted November 14, 2008.
- "The NSA Files". London:
- "Just what is the NSA?" (video) CNN. June 7, 2013.
- Thomas L. Burns, The Origins of the National Security Agency, p. 97
- "60 Years of Defending Our Nation" (PDF). National Security Agency. 2012. p. 3. Retrieved July 6, 2013. "On November 4, 2012, the National Security Agency (NSA) celebrates its 60th anniversary of providing critical information to U.S. decision makers and Armed Forces personnel in defense of our Nation. NSA has evolved from a staff of approximately 7,600 military and civilian employees housed in 1952 in a vacated school in Arlington, VA, into a workforce of more than 30,000 demographically diverse men and women located at NSA headquarters in Ft. Meade, MD, in four national Cryptologic Centers, and at sites throughout the world."
- Priest, Dana (July 21, 2013). "NSA growth fueled by need to target terrorists". "Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, its civilian and military workforce has grown by one-third, to about 33,000, according to the NSA. Its budget has roughly doubled."
- "Introverted? Then NSA wants you." FCW. April 2012. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- "Prism Exposed: Data Surveillance with Global Implications". Spiegel Online International. June 10, 2013. p. 2. "How can an intelligence agency, even one as large and well-staffed as the NSA with its 40,000 employees, work meaningfully with such a flood of information?"
- Gellman, Barton; Greg Miller (August 29, 2013). "U.S. spy network’s successes, failures and objectives detailed in ‘black budget’ summary". The Washington Post. p. 3. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
- Shane, Scott (August 29, 2013). "New Leaked Document Outlines U.S. Spending On Intelligence Agencies". The New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
- "About NSA: Mission". National Security Agency. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
- Ellen Nakashima (January 26, 2008). "Bush Order Expands Network Monitoring: Intelligence Agencies to Track Intrusions". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 9, 2008.
- Executive Order 13470 —  2008 Amendments to Executive Order 12333], United States Intelligence Activities, July 30, 2008 (PDF)
- Malkin, Bonnie. NSA surveillance: US bugged EU offices. The Daily Telegraph, June 30, 2013
- Ngak, Chenda. NSA leaker Snowden claimed U.S. and Israel co-wrote Stuxnet virus, CBS, July 9, 2013
- Bamford, James. The Secret War, Wired Magazine, June 12, 2013.
- Bamford, James. Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, Random House Digital, Inc., December 18, 2007
- Executive Order 13470 — 2008 Amendments to Executive Order 12333, United States Intelligence Activities, Section C.2, July 30, 2008
- Obar, Jonathan A.; Clement, Andrew (2013). "Internet Surveillance and Boomerang Routing: A Call for Canadian Network Sovereignty". TEM 2013: Proceedings of the Technology & Emerging Media Track - Annual Conference of the Canadian Communication Association (Victoria, June 5–7, 2012). Retrieved 3 June 2014.
- "The National Archives, Records of the National Security Agency". Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- "The Many Lives of Herbert O. Yardley". Retrieved December 5, 2013.
- Hastedt, Glenn P.; Guerrier, Steven W. (2009). Spies, wiretaps, and secret operations: An encyclopedia of American espionage.
- Yardley, Herbert O. (1931). The American black chamber. Annapolis, MD:
- James Bamford. "Building America’s secret surveillance state". Reuters. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
"Roman Empire to the NSA: A world history of government spying". BBC. November 1, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
Across Europe, they established departments called "black chambers" (from the French, cabinet noir) to read the letters of targeted individuals.
- "Army Security Agency Established, 15 September 1945".
- Burns, Thomas L. "The Origins of the National Security Agency 1940–1952 (U)" (PDF). National Security Agency. p. 60. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
- "The Creation of NSA - Part 2 of 3: The Brownell Committee" (PDF). National Security Agency. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
- Truman, Harry S. (October 24, 1952). "Memorandum" (PDF). National Security Agency. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
- Anne Gearan (June 7, 2013). "‘No Such Agency’ spies on the communications of the world".
- SCOTT SHANE (October 31, 2005). "Vietnam Study, Casting Doubts, Remains Secret".
- "Declassified NSA Files Show Agency Spied on Muhammad Ali and MLK Operation Minaret Set Up in 1960s to Monitor Anti-Vietnam Critics, Branded 'Disreputable If Not Outright Illegal' by NSA Itself" The Guardian, 26 Sept. 2013
- Pre-Emption - The Nsa And The Telecoms | Spying On The Home Front | FRONTLINE | PBS
- Cohen, Martin. No Holiday: 80 Places You Don't Want to Visit. New York: Disinformation Company Ltd.
- Bill Moyers Journal (October 26, 2007). "The Church Committee and FISA". Public Affairs Television. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
- "Book IV, Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Foreign and Military Intelligence (94th Congress, Senate report 94-755)" (PDF). United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. April 23, 1976. p. 67 (72). Retrieved June 28, 2013.
- "Book II, Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans (94th Congress, Senate report 94-755)" (PDF). United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. April 26, 1976. p. 124 (108). Retrieved June 28, 2013.
- Seymour M. Hersh (February 22, 1987). "TARGET QADDAFI".
- David Wise (May 18, 1986). "Espionage Case Pits CIA Against News Media".
- Peggy Becker (October 1999). DEVELOPMENT OF SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY AND RISK OF ABUSE OF ECONOMIC INFORMATION (Report). STOA, European Parliament. p. 12. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/stoa/cms/cache/offonce/home/publications/studies?page=12. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
- Staff (June 13, 2003). "NSA honors 4 in the science of codes". The Baltimore Sun (Tribune Company). Retrieved June 11, 2013.
Tom Carver (8 June 2002). "America's most powerful spy agency". BBC.
When Osama bin Laden first moved to Afghanistan, the NSA listened in to every phone call he made on his satellite phone. Over the course of two years it is believed they logged more than 2,000 minutes of conversation.
- Gorman, Siobhan (May 17, 2006). "NSA killed system that sifted phone data legally".
- See refs of Thomas Andrews Drake article
- Bamford, Shadow Factory, pp. 325–340.
- Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark. "Ally and Target: US Intelligence Watches Germany Closely". Der Spiegel. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
- DeYoung, Karen (August 12, 2013). "Colombia asks Kerry to explain NSA spying". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
- Memorandum of the United States in Response to the Court's Order Dated January 28, 2009. Washington DC: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Washington DC. January 28, 2009. p. 11.
- Greenberg, Andy. "NSA Secretly Admitted Illegally Tracking Thousands Of 'Alert List' Phone Numbers For Years". Forbes. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- Brandon, Russel. "NSA illegally searched 15,000 suspects' phone records, according to declassified report". The Verge. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- Timm, Trevor. "Government Releases NSA Surveillance Docs and Previously Secret FISA Court Opinions In Response to EFF Lawsuit". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- Greg Miller and Julie Tate, October 17, 2013, "Documents reveal NSA's extensive involvement in targeted killing program", The Washington Post. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
- Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach, Fidelius Schmid und Holger Stark. "Geheimdokumente: NSA horcht EU-Vertretungen mit Wanzen aus". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved June 29, 2013.
- "US-Geheimdienst hörte Zentrale der Vereinten Nationen ab". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved August 25, 2013.
- Barton Gellman and Ashton Solanti, December 5, 2013, "NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, Snowden documents show", The Washington Post. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
- Greenwald, Glenn; MacAskill, Ewen (6 June 2013). "NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others". The Guardian. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- Gellman and Soltani, October 15, 2013 "NSA collects millions of e-mail address books globally", The Washington Post. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
- Perlroth, Larson and Shane, "N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web", The New York Times September 5, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
- Arthur, Charles "Academics criticise NSA and GCHQ for weakening online encryption", The Guardian September 16, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
"Senators: Limit NSA snooping into US phone records". Associated Press. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
"Is it the goal of the NSA to collect the phone records of all Americans?" Udall asked at Thursday's hearing. "Yes, I believe it is in the nation's best interest to put all the phone records into a lockbox that we could search when the nation needs to do it. Yes," Alexander replied.
- Glenn Greenwald (6 June 2013). "NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily". The Guardian. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
- Court Reveals 'Secret Interpretation' Of The Patriot Act, Allowing NSA To Collect All Phone Call Data, September 17, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
- "Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans". Reuters. August 5, 2013. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
- Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher & Ryan Grim, November 26, 2013, "Top-Secret Document Reveals NSA Spied On Porn Habits As Part Of Plan To Discredit 'Radicalizers'", Huffington Post. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
- "Vast majority of NSA spy targets are mistakenly monitored". Philadelphia News.Net. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
- Greenwald, Glen, "Members of Congress denied access to basic information about NSA", The Guardian, August 4, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
- Eddlem, T. The NSA Domestic Surveillance Lie, September 22, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
- Loennig, C., "Court: Ability to police U.S. spying program limited", Washington Post, August 16, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
- Gellman, B. NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds, Washington Post, August 15, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
- Gorman, S. NSA Officers Spy on Love Interests, Wall St Journal, August 23, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
- Spencer Ackerman, November 19, 2013, "Fisa court documents reveal extent of NSA disregard for privacy restrictions", The Guardian. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
- John D Bates (3 October 2011). "[redacted] ". p. 16.
- Ellen Nakashima, Julie Tate and Carol Leonnig (10 September 2013). "Declassified court documents highlight NSA violations in data collection for surveillance". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- Richard Leon, December 16, 2013, Memorandum Opinion, Klayman vs. Obama. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Reproduced on The Guardian website. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
- Bazzle, Steph (27 December 2013). "Judge Says NSA’s Data Collection Is Legal". Indyposted. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
- Greenwald, Glenn (16 October 2014). "UN Report Finds Mass Surveillance Violates International Treaties and Privacy Rights". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
- Kessler, Glen, James Clapper's 'least untruthful' statement to the Senate, June 12, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
- Kube, C., June 27, 2013, "NSA chief says surveillance programs helped foil 54 plots", US News on nbcnews.com. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
- "NSA Confirms Dragnet Phone Records Collection, But Admits It Was Key in Stopping Just 1 Terror Plot", Democracy Now August 1, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
- "Indictment: USA vs Basaaly Saeed Moalin, Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud and Issa Doreh". Southern District of California July 2010 Grand Jury. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
- "54 Attacks in 20 Countries Thwarted By NSA Collection" (Press release). The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 2013-07-23. Archived from the original on 2013-10-23. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
- "Senate caves, votes to give telecoms retroactive immunity". Ars Technica. 13 February 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
- "Forget Retroactive Immunity, FISA Bill is also about Prospective Immunity".
- "Restricted Web access to the Guardian is Armywide, say officials", Philipp Molnar, Monterey Herald, June 27, 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- Ackerman, Spencer; Roberts, Dan (June 28, 2013). "US Army Blocks Access to Guardian Website to Preserve 'Network Hygiene' – Military Admits to Filtering Reports and Content Relating to Government Surveillance Programs for Thousands of Personnel". The Guardian. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
- Ackerman, Spencer (July 1, 2013). "US military blocks entire Guardian website for troops stationed abroad". The Guardian.
- These offices are for example mentioned in a FISA court order from 2011.
- "National Security Agency". fas.org. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- Matthew M. Aid, The Secret Sentry, New York, 2009, p. 130, 138, 156-158.
- See also the information about the historical structure of NSA that is archived at FAS.org
- TheWeek.com: The NSA's secret org chart, September 15, 2013
- D.B. Grady. "Inside the secret world of America's top eavesdropping spies".
- Marc Ambinder, Solving the mystery of PRISM, June 7, 2013
- National Intelligence - a consumer's guide (PDF) 2009, p. 34.
- Aid, Matthew M. (10 June 2013). "Inside the NSA's Ultra-Secret China Hacking Group". Foreign Policy. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- Marc Ambinder, How a single IT tech could spy on the world, June 10, 2013
- The Special Source Operations logo can be seen on slides about the FAIRVIEW program.
- National Security Agency - 60 Years of Defending Our Nation, Anniversary booklet, 2012, p. 96.
- Marc Ambinder, 3008 Selectors, June 27, 2013.
- This is mentioned in a FISA court order from 2011.
- Top Level Telecommunications: Pictures at the NSA's 60th anniversary
- National Security Agency - 60 Years of Defending Our Nation, Anniversary booklet, 2012, p. 102.
- Matthew M. Aid, The Secret Sentry, New York, 2009, pp. 128, 148, 190 and 198.
- Harvey A. Davis (March 12, 2002). Statement for the Record (Speech). 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. Retrieved November 24, 2009.
- Drew, Christopher and Somini Sengupta (June 24, 2013). "N.S.A. Leak Puts Focus on System Administrators".
- David Kahn, The Codebreakers, Scribner Press, 1967, chapter 19, pp. 672–733.
- Barton Gellman (December 25, 2013). "Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished". The Washington Post.
- Bauer, Craig P. (2013). Secret History: The Story of Cryptology. CRC Press. p. 359.
- "Your Polygraph Examination: An Important Appointment to Keep" (PDF). National Security Agency. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
- McCarthy, Susan. "The truth about the polygraph".
- Nagesh, Gautham (June 14, 2010). "NSA video tries to dispel fear about polygraph use during job interviews".
- Stein, Jeff. "NSA lie detectors no sweat, video says." Washington Post. June 14, 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
- Drezner, Daniel. "Tone-Deaf at the Listening Post." Foreign Policy. December 16, 2013. Retrieved March 1, 2014. "Snowden has also changed the way the NSA is doing business. Analysts have gone from being polygraphed once every five years to once every quarter."
- "Frequently Asked Questions About NSA: 9. Can you explain the NSA and CSS seals?". National Security Agency. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
- "History of The Insignia". National Security Agency. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
- "The National Security Agency Insignia". National Security Agency via Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 2008-04-13. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
- "A Dangerous Business: The U.S. Navy and National Reconnaissance During the Cold War" (PDF). National Security Agency. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- "National Cryptologic Memorial (List of Names) – NSA/CSS". NSA.gov. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- "Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion: Intelligence Department: Fort Meade, MD: New Joins". United States Marine Corps. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- "Just off the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, about 25 miles northeast of Washington, is a secret city. Fort Meade, in suburban Maryland, is home to the National Security Agency – the NSA, sometimes wryly referred to as No Such Agency or Never Say Anything." and "It contains almost 70 miles of roads, 1,300 buildings, each identified by a number, and 18,000 parking spaces as well as a shopping centre, golf courses, chain restaurants and every other accoutrement of Anywhere, USA." in "Free introduction to: Who’s reading your emails?". (subscription required)
- Sernovitz, Daniel J. "NSA opens doors for local businesses." Baltimore Business Journal. August 26, 2010. Updated August 27, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2013. "But for many more, the event was the first time attendees got the chance to take the "NSA Employees Only" exit off the Baltimore-Washington Parkway beyond the restricted gates of the agency's headquarters."
- Weiland and Wilsey, p. 208. "[...]housing integration has invalidated Montpelier's Ivory Pass and the National Security Agency has posted an exit ramp off the Baltimore-Washington Parkway that reads NSA."
- Grier, Peter and Harry Bruinius. "In the end, NSA might not need to snoop so secretly." Christian Science Monitor. June 18, 2013. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
- Barnett, Mark L. (April 26, 2011). "Small Business Brief" (PDF). Office of Small Business Programs, NSA, via The Greater Baltimore Committee. p. 3. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- Gorman, Siobhan (August 6, 2006). "NSA risking electrical overload". The Baltimore Sun (Tribune Company). Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- Dozier, Kimberly (June 9, 2013). "NSA claims know-how to ensure no illegal spying". Associated Press. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
- "Geeks 'R' us". The Baltimore Sun. Tribune Company. January 13, 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- Bamford, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, p. 488. "At the heart of the invisible city is NSA's massive Headquarters/Operations Building. With more than sixty-eight acres of floor space,[...]" and "Entrance is first made through the two-story Visitor Control Center, one[...]"
- Bamford, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, p. 488-489. "[...]one of more than 100 fixed watch posts within the secret city manned by the armed NSA police. It is here that clearances are checked and visitor badges are issued."
- Bamford, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, p. 490. "And then there is the red badge—[...]and is normally worn by people working in the "Red Corridor"—the drugstore and other concession areas[...]Those with a red badge are forbidden to go anywhere near classified information and are restricted to a few corridors and administrative areas—the bank, the barbershop, the cafeteria, the credit union, the airline and entertainment ticket counters." and "Once inside the white, pentagonal Visitor Control Center, employees are greeted by a six-foot painting of the NSA seal[...]"
- Bamford, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, p. 489. "It is here that clearances are checked and visitor badges are issued."
- Bamford, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, p. 491. "From the Visitor Control Center one enters the eleven-story, million OPS2A, the tallest building in the City. Shaped like a dark glass Rubik's Cube, the building houses much of NSA's Operations Directorate, which is responsible for processing the ocean of intercepts and prying open the complex cipher systems."
- "Career Fields/Other Opportunities/NSA Police Officers section of the NSA website". Nsa.gov. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- T.C. Carrington, Debra L.Z. Potts, "Protective Services-More Than Meets the Eye. An Overview of NSA's Protective Services", National Security Agency Newsletter, volume XLVII, No. 9, September 1999, pp. 8-10.
- "Explore NSA." (Archive) National Security Agency. Retrieved June 12, 2013. "Other Locations" and "Our employees live along the Colonial-era streets of Annapolis and Georgetown; in the suburban surroundings of Columbia; near the excitement of Baltimore's Inner Harbor; along rolling hills adjacent to working farms; near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay; and amid the monumental history of Washington, DC."
- Sabar, Ariel (January 2, 2003). "NSA still subject to electronic failure". and "Agency officials anticipated the problem nearly a decade ago as they looked ahead at the technology needs of the agency, sources said, but it was never made a priority, and now the agency's ability to keep its operations going is threatened." and "The NSA is Baltimore Gas & Electric's largest customer, using as much electricity as the city of Annapolis, according to James Bamford...." in Gorman, Siobhan (August 6, 2006). "NSA risking electrical overload". and Gorman, Siobhan (January 26, 2007). "NSA electricity crisis gets Senate scrutiny". and Gorman, Siobhan (June 24, 2007). "Power supply still a vexation for the NSA". The Baltimore Sun (Tribune Company). Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- "The NSA uses about 65 to 75 megawatt-hours of electricity, The Sun reported last week. Its needs are projected to grow by 10 to 15 megawatt-hours by next fall." in Staff (January 26, 2007). "NSA electricity crisis gets Senate scrutiny". The Baltimore Sun (Tribune Company). Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- Bamford, James (March 15, 2012). "The NSA Is Building the Country's Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)". Wired (Condé Nast). Retrieved February 26, 2013.
- "60 Years of Defending Our Nation" (PDF). National Security Agency. 2012. p. 15. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
- "60 Years of Defending Our Nation" (PDF). National Security Agency. 2012. p. 10. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
- "60 Years of Defending Our Nation" (PDF). National Security Agency. 2012. p. 23. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
- "60 Years of Defending Our Nation" (PDF). National Security Agency. 2012. p. 39. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
- Brown, Matthew Hay (May 6, 2013). "NSA plans new computing center for cyber threats". The Baltimore Sun (Tribune Company). Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- "National Security Agency: FY 2014 Military Construction, Defense-Wide" (PDF). Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), USA.gov. pp. 3–4. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
- "Fort Meade". Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center, United States Navy. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
- Steve Fidel (January 6, 2011). "Utah's billion cyber-security center under way". Deseret News. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
- LaPlante, Matthew D. (July 2, 2009). "New NSA center unveiled in budget documents". The Salt Lake Tribune (MediaNews Group). Retrieved June 9, 2013.
- Norton-Taylor, Richard (March 1, 2012). "Menwith Hill eavesdropping base undergoes massive expansion". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- "It’s kind of a legacy system, this whole idea, the Echelon," Bamford said. "Communications have changed a great deal since they built it." in Muir, Pat (May 27, 2013). "Secret Yakima facility may be outdated, expert says". Yakima Herald-Republic (Seattle Times). Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- Richelson, Jeffrey T. (August 2012). "Eavesdroppers in Disguise". Air Force Magazine (Air Force Association). Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- Troianello, Craig (April 4, 2013). "NSA to close Yakima Training Center facility". Yakima Herald-Republic. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- "UKUSA Agreement Release: 1940-1956". National Security Agency. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- Bamford, James (September 13, 2002). "What big ears you have". The Guardian (London). Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- Tangimoana listed in: "Government Communications Security Bureau [GCSB]". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- "ECHELON Main Stations". World-Information.org. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- "UK agrees missile defence request". BBC News. July 25, 2007. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- Campbell, Duncan (December 6, 1999). "1980 - America's big ear on Europe". New Statesman. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark, Ally and Target: US Intelligence Watches Germany Closely, August 12, 2013.
- "'"Snowden Interview: NSA and the Germans 'In Bed Together. Spiegel International. July 7, 2013. and "Snowden: NSA is ‘in bed with the Germans’". RT News (TV-Novosti). July 7, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
- Bamford, James (December 25, 2005). "The Agency That Could Be Big Brother". The New York Times. Retrieved September 11, 2005.
- Priest, Dana and Arkin, William, A hidden world, growing beyond control, Washington Post
- "National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Form New Partnership to Increase National Focus on Cyber Security Education" (Press release). NSA Public and Media Affairs. April 22, 2004. Retrieved July 4, 2008.
- Hager 1996, p. 55
- Richelson, Jeffrey T.; Ball, Desmond (1985). The Ties That Bind: Intelligence Cooperation Between the UKUSA Countries. London: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-04-327092-1
- Patrick S. Poole, Echelon: America's Secret Global Surveillance Network (Washington, D.C.: Free Congress Foundation, October 1998)
- Echelon", 60 Minutes, February 27, 2000
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Collect it all, tag it, store it. . . . And whatever it is you want, you go searching for it.
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- Five Eyes Canadian - American - Australian - British - New Zealander intelligence sharing agreement
- Australian Signals Directorate or ASD - Australia
- Communications Security Establishment Canada or CSE - Canada
- Ministry of State Security (China) or MSS - China
- Ministry of State Security or Stasi - former German Democratic Republic
- National Counter Terrorism Centre or NCTS - India (proposed)
- Garda National Surveillance Unit or NSU - Ireland
- Government Communications Security Bureau or GCSB - New Zealand
- Special Communications Service of Russia or Spetssvyaz - Russia
- Internal Security Department (Singapore) or ISD - Singapore
- Government Communications Headquarters or GCHQ - United Kingdom
- Gulf of Tonkin incident
- Korean Air Lines Flight 007
- Operation Ivy Bells
- Edward Snowden
- National Intelligence Priorities Framework
On July 18, 2013, Greenwald said that Snowden held "detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do", thereby sparking fresh controversy.
The DoD Computer Security Center was founded in 1981 and renamed the National Computer Security Center (NCSC) in 1985. NCSC was responsible for computer security throughout the federal government. NCSC was part of NSA, and during the late 1980s and the 1990s, NSA and NCSC published Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria in a six-foot high Rainbow Series of books that detailed trusted computing and network platform specifications. The Rainbow books were replaced by the Common Criteria, however, in the early 2000s.
National Computer Security Center
The thousands of Top Secret internal NSA documents that were taken by Edward Snowden in 2013 were stored in "a file-sharing location on the NSA's intranet site" so they could easily be read online by NSA personnel. Everyone with a TS/SCI-clearance had access to these documents and as a system administrator, Snowden was responsible for moving accidentally misplaced highly sensitive documents to more secure storage locations.
In 1998, NSANet, along with  In 2004, the network was reported to have used over twenty commercial off-the-shelf operating systems. Some universities that do highly sensitive research are allowed to connect to it.
NSANet is a highly secured computer network consisting of fiber-optic and satellite communication channels which are almost completely separated from the public internet. The network allows NSA personnel and civilian and military intelligence analysts anywhere in the world to have access to the agency's systems and databases. This access is tightly controlled and monitored. For example, every keystroke is logged, activities are audited at random and downloading and printing of documents from NSANet are recorded.
NSANet stands for National Security Agency Network and is the official NSA intranet. It is a classified network, for information up to the level of TS/SCI to support the use and sharing of intelligence data between NSA and the signals intelligence agencies of the four other nations of the Five Eyes partnership. The management of NSANet has been delegated to the Central Security Service Texas (CSSTEXAS).
NSANet (NSA's Intranet)
One of NSA's published patents describes a method of geographically locating an individual computer site in an Internet-like network, based on the latency of multiple network connections. Although no public patent exists, NSA is reported to have used a similar locating technology called trilateralization that allows real-time tracking of an individual’s location, including altitude from ground level, using data obtained from cellphone towers.
NSA has the ability to file for a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under gag order. Unlike normal patents, these are not revealed to the public and do not expire. However, if the Patent Office receives an application for an identical patent from a third party, they will reveal NSA's patent and officially grant it to NSA for the full term on that date.
NSA has invested many millions of dollars in academic research under grant code prefix MDA904, resulting in over 3,000 papers (as of 2007-10-11). NSA/CSS has, at times, attempted to restrict the publication of academic research into cryptography; for example, the Khufu and Khafre block ciphers were voluntarily withheld in response to an NSA request to do so. In response to a FOIA lawsuit, in 2013 the NSA released the 643-page research paper titled, "Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research, " written and compiled by NSA employees to assist other NSA workers in searching for information of interest to the agency on the public Internet.
Perfect Citizen is a program to perform vulnerability assessment by the NSA on U.S. critical infrastructure. It was originally reported to be a program to develop a system of sensors to detect cyber attacks on critical infrastructure computer networks in both the private and public sector through a network monitoring system named Einstein. It is funded by the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative and thus far Raytheon has received a contract for up to $100 million for the initial stage.
Because of concerns that widespread use of strong cryptography would hamper government use of wiretaps, NSA proposed the concept of key escrow in 1993 and introduced the Clipper chip that would offer stronger protection than DES but would allow access to encrypted data by authorized law enforcement officials. The proposal was strongly opposed and key escrow requirements ultimately went nowhere. However, NSA's Fortezza hardware-based encryption cards, created for the Clipper project, are still used within government, and NSA ultimately declassified and published the design of the Skipjack cipher used on the cards.
This is now deemed to be plausible based on the fact that the output of the next iterations of the PRNG can provably be determined if the relation between two internal elliptic curve points is known. Both NIST and RSA are now officially recommending against the use of this PRNG.
NSA promoted the inclusion of a random number generator called Dual_EC_DRBG in the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology's 2007 guidelines. This led to speculation of a backdoor which would allow NSA access to data encrypted by systems using that pseudo random number generator.
Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator
A new hash standard, 
The widely used SHA-1 and SHA-2 hash functions were designed by NSA. SHA-1 is a slight modification of the weaker SHA-0 algorithm, also designed by NSA in 1993. This small modification was suggested by NSA two years later, with no justification other than the fact that it provides additional security. An attack for SHA-0 that does not apply to the revised algorithm was indeed found between 1998 and 2005 by academic cryptographers. Because of weaknesses and key length restrictions in SHA-1, NIST deprecates its use for digital signatures, and approves only the newer SHA-2 algorithms for such applications from 2013 on.
The NSA has specified Suite A and Suite B cryptographic algorithm suites to be used in U.S. government systems; the Suite B algorithms are a subset of those previously specified by NIST and are expected to serve for most information protection purposes, while the Suite A algorithms are secret and are intended for especially high levels of protection.
- EKMS Electronic Key Management System
- Fortezza encryption based on portable crypto token in PC Card format
- SINCGARS tactical radio with cryptographically controlled frequency hopping
- STE secure terminal equipment
- TACLANE product line by General Dynamics C4 Systems
The NSA oversees encyption in following systems which are in use today:
- KY-57 VINSON tactical radio voice encryptor
- KG-84 Dedicated Data Encryption/Decryption
- STU-III secure telephone unit, phased out by the STE
- FNBDT Future Narrow Band Digital Terminal
- KL-7 ADONIS off-line rotor encryption machine (post-WWII – 1980s)
- KW-26 ROMULUS electronic in-line teletypewriter encryptor (1960s–1980s)
- KW-37 JASON fleet broadcast encryptor (1960s–1990s)
The NSA is responsible for the encryption-related components in these legacy systems:
NSA encryption systems
The involvement of NSA in the selection of a successor to DES, the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), was limited to hardware performance testing (see AES competition). NSA has subsequently certified AES for protection of classified information ( ) when used in NSA-approved systems.
Advanced Encryption Standard
The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reviewed NSA's involvement, and concluded that while the agency had provided some assistance, it had not tampered with the design. In late 2009 NSA declassified information stating that "NSA worked closely with IBM to strengthen the algorithm against all except brute force attacks and to strengthen substitution tables, called S-boxes. Conversely, NSA tried to convince IBM to reduce the length of the key from 64 to 48 bits. Ultimately they compromised on a 56-bit key."
NSA was embroiled in some minor controversy concerning its involvement in the creation of the Data Encryption Standard (DES), a standard and public block cipher algorithm used by the U.S. government and banking community. During the development of DES by IBM in the 1970s, NSA recommended changes to some details of the design. There was suspicion that these changes had weakened the algorithm sufficiently to enable the agency to eavesdrop if required, including speculation that a critical component—the so-called S-boxes—had been altered to insert a "backdoor" and that the reduction in key length might have made it feasible for NSA to discover DES keys using massive computing power. It has since been observed that the S-boxes in DES are particularly resilient against differential cryptanalysis, a technique which was not publicly discovered until the late 1980s, but which was known to the IBM DES team.
Data Encryption Standard
Its secure government communications work has involved the NSA in numerous technology areas, including the design of specialized communications hardware and software, production of dedicated semiconductors (at the Ft. Meade chip fabrication plant), and advanced cryptography research. For 50 years, NSA designed and built most of its computer equipment in-house, but from the 1990s until about 2003 (when the U.S. Congress curtailed the practice), the agency contracted with the private sector in the fields of research and equipment.
NSA has been involved in debates about public policy, both indirectly as a behind-the-scenes adviser to other departments, and directly during and after Vice Admiral Bobby Ray Inman's directorship. NSA was a major player in the debates of the 1990s regarding the export of cryptography in the United States. Restrictions on export were reduced but not eliminated in 1996.
Role in scientific research and development
A document included in NSA files released with 
While it is assumed that foreign transmissions terminating in the U.S. (such as a non-U.S. citizen accessing a U.S. website) subject non-U.S. citizens to NSA surveillance, recent research into boomerang routing has raised new concerns about the NSA's ability to surveil the domestic internet traffic of foreign countries. Boomerang routing occurs when an internet transmission that originates and terminates in a single country transits another. Research at the University of Toronto has suggested that approximately 25% of Canadian domestic traffic may be subject to NSA surveillance activities as a result of the boomerang routing of Canadian internet service providers.
IBM Notes was the first widely adopted software product to use public key cryptography for client–server and server–server authentication and for encryption of data. Until US laws regulating encryption were changed in 2000, IBM and Lotus were prohibited from exporting versions of Notes that supported symmetric encryption keys that were longer than 40 bits. In 1997, Lotus negotiated an agreement with the NSA that allowed export of a version that supported stronger keys with 64 bits, but 24 of the bits were encrypted with a special key and included in the message to provide a "workload reduction factor" for the NSA. This strengthened the protection for users of Notes outside the US against private-sector industrial espionage, but not against spying by the US government.
IBM Notes. public key data) in August 1999 by Andrew D. Fernandes of Cryptonym Corporation. That variable contained a 1024-bit symbolic debugging 5 (which had been released unstripped of its Service Pack Windows NT 4's Microsoft name discovered in variable was a
When my oldest son [Linus Torvalds] was asked the same question: “Has he been approached by the NSA about backdoors?” he said “No”, but at the same time he nodded. Then he was sort of in the legal free. He had given the right answer, [but] everybody understood that the NSA had approached him. (MEP), revealed that the NSA actually did this.Member of the European Parliament However later, Linus' father, a , wanted a backdoor in the kernel.SELinux keynote on 18 September 2013 that the NSA, who are the founder of LinuxCon, joked during a Linux kernel, the founder of Linus Torvalds
Edward Snowden revealed in June 2013 that between 8 February and 8 March 2013 NSA collected about 124.8 billion telephone data items and 97.1 billion computer data items throughout the world, including in Germany, United Kingdom and France. NSA made 70.3 million recordings of French citizens' telephone data from 10 December 2012 to 8 January 2013.
According to General Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, in September 2009 the NSA prevented Najibullah Zazi and his friends from carrying out a terrorist attack. The NSA tagged Zazi as a possible threat because he was contacting people affiliated with terrorist activity through emails, which the NSA was able to obtain through one of PRISM's dragnets. The NSA tipped off the FBI, which began a program called Operation High-Rise. Operation High-Rise discovered that Zazi was planning to suicide bomb the New York City subway. Zazi called off the attacks after receiving a tip about law-enforcement inquiries and was later arrested.
2009 New York City Subway bomb plot
Terrorist Attacks prevented by Domestic Surveillance
Polls conducted in June 2013 found divided results among Americans regarding NSA's secret data collection. Rasmussen Reports found that 59% of Americans disapprove, Gallup found that 53% disapprove, and Pew found that 56% are in favor of NSA data collection.
In order to support its facial recognition program, the NSA is intercepting "millions of images per day".
In August 2013, following the Snowden leaks, new details about the NSA's data mining activity were revealed. Reportedly, the majority of emails into or out of the United States are captured at "selected communications links" and automatically analyzed for keywords or other "selectors". Emails that do not match are deleted.
On April 25, 2013, the NSA obtained a court order requiring Verizon's Business Network Services to provide metadata on all calls in its system to the NSA "on an ongoing daily basis" for a three-month period, as reported by The Guardian on June 6, 2013. This information includes "the numbers of both parties on a call ... location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls" but not "[t]he contents of the conversation itself". The order relies on the so-called "business records" provision of the Patriot Act.
In the months leading to April 2009, the NSA intercepted the communications of American citizens, including a Congressman, although the Justice Department believed that the interception was unintentional. The Justice Department then took action to correct the issues and bring the program into compliance with existing laws. United States Attorney General Eric Holder resumed the program according to his understanding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendment of 2008, without explaining what had occurred.
Domestic surveillance under Barack Obama
In August 2013 it was revealed that a 2005 IRS training document showed that NSA intelligence intercepts and wiretaps, both foreign and domestic, were being supplied to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and were illegally used to launch criminal investigations of US citizens. Law enforcement agents were directed to conceal how the investigations began and recreate an apparently legal investigative trail by re-obtaining the same evidence by other means.
Illegally obtained evidence
A 2013 advisory group for the Obama administration, seeking to reform NSA spying programs following the revelations of documents released by Edward J. Snowden. mentioned in 'Recommendation 30' on page 37, "...that the National Security Council staff should manage an interagency process to review on a regular basis the activities of the US Government regarding attacks that exploit a previously unknown vulnerability in a computer application." Retired cyber security expert Richard A. Clarke was a group member and stated on 11 April that NSA had no advance knowledge of Heartbleed.
NSA was reported in 2008 to use its computing capability to analyze "transactional" data that it regularly acquires from other government agencies, which gather it under their own jurisdictional authorities. As part of this effort, NSA now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic email data, web addresses from Internet searches, bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel records, and telephone data, according to current and former intelligence officials interviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The sender, recipient, and subject line of emails can be included, but the content of the messages or of phone calls are not.
In May 2006, Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee, alleged that his company had cooperated with NSA in installing Narus hardware to replace the FBI Carnivore program, to monitor network communications including traffic between American citizens.
AT&T Internet monitoring
In September 2008, the Bush administration, charging an "illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet communications surveillance," based on documentation provided by former AT&T technician Mark Klein.
 On December 16, 2005,
George W. Bush administration
These activities, especially the publicly acknowledged domestic telephone tapping and call database programs, have prompted questions about the extent of the NSA's activities and concerns about threats to privacy and the rule of law.
NSA's domestic surveillance activities are limited by the requirements imposed by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for example held in October 2011, citing multiple Supreme Court precedents, that the Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures applies to the contents of all communications, whatever the means, because "a person's private communications are akin to personal papers." However, these protections do not apply to non-U.S. persons located outside of U.S. borders, so the NSA's foreign surveillance efforts are subject to far fewer limitations under U.S. law. The specific requirements for domestic surveillance operations are contained in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), which does not extend protection to non-U.S. citizens located outside of U.S. territory.
NSA's mission, as set forth in Executive Order 12333, is to collect information that constitutes "foreign intelligence or counterintelligence" while not "acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons". NSA has declared that it relies on the FBI to collect information on foreign intelligence activities within the borders of the United States, while confining its own activities within the United States to the embassies and missions of foreign nations.
XKeyscore rules (as specified in a file xkeyscorerules100.txt, sourced by German TV stations NDR and WDR, who claim to have excerpts from its source code) reveal that the NSA tracks users of privacy-enhancing software tools, including Tor, the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and readers of the Linux Journal.
 claims that the NSA often bypasses encryption altogether by lifting information before it is encrypted or after it is decrypted.Edward Snowden  This memo appears to give credence to previous speculation by cryptographers at Microsoft Research. In 2013, reporters uncovered a secret memo that claims the NSA created and pushed for the adoption of encryption standards that contained built-in vulnerabilities in 2006 to the United States
The NSA began the PRISM electronic surveillance and data mining program in 2007. PRISM gathers communications data on foreign targets from nine major U.S. internet-based communication service providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple. Data gathered include email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, VoIP chats such as Skype, and file transfers. Another program, Boundless Informant, employs big data databases, cloud computing technology, and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to analyze data collected worldwide by the NSA, including that gathered by way of the PRISM program.
The Real Time Regional Gateway was a data collection program introduced in 2005 in Iraq by NSA during the Iraq War. It consisted of gathering all Iraqi electronic communication, storing it, then searching and otherwise analyzing it. It was effective in providing information about Iraqi insurgents who had eluded less comprehensive techniques. Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian believes that the "collect it all" strategy introduced by NSA director Alexander shows that "the NSA's goal is to collect, monitor and store every telephone and internet communication" worldwide. The NSA is also involved in planning to blackmail people with "SEXINT", intelligence gained about a potential target's sexual activity and preferences. Those targeted had not committed any apparent crime nor were charged with one.
NSA's United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18) strictly prohibited the interception or collection of information about "... U.S. persons, entities, corporations or organizations...." without explicit written legal permission from the United States Attorney General when the subject is located abroad, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when within U.S. borders. Alleged Echelon-related activities, including its use for motives other than national security, including political and industrial espionage, received criticism from countries outside the UKUSA alliance.
During the early 1970s, the first of what became more than eight large satellite communications dishes were installed at Menwith Hill. Investigative journalist Duncan Campbell reported in 1988 on the Echelon surveillance program, an extension of the UKUSA Agreement on global signals intelligence SIGINT, and detailed how the eavesdropping operations worked. In November 3, 1999 the BBC reported that they had confirmation from the Australian Government of the existence of a powerful "global spying network" code-named Echelon, that could "eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet" with Britain and the United States as the chief protagonists. They confirmed that Menwith Hill was "linked directly to the headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade in Maryland".
NSA/CSS, in combination with the equivalent agencies in the United Kingdom (Government Communications Headquarters), Canada (Communications Security Establishment), Australia (Defence Signals Directorate), and New Zealand (Government Communications Security Bureau), otherwise known as the UKUSA group, was reported to be in command of the operation of the so-called Echelon system. Its capabilities were suspected to include the ability to monitor a large proportion of the world's transmitted civilian telephone, fax and data traffic.
As part of the National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD 54), signed on January 8, 2008 by President Bush, the NSA became the lead agency to monitor and protect all of the federal government's computer networks from cyber-terrorism.
In 2004, NSA Central Security Service and the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to expand NSA Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education Program.
Because of its listening task, NSA/CSS has been heavily involved in cryptanalytic research, continuing the work of predecessor agencies which had broken many World War II codes and ciphers (see, for instance, Purple, Venona project, and JN-25).
According to the Washington Post, "[e]very day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases."
In 2013, a new Consolidated Intelligence Center, also to be used by NSA, is being built at the headquarters of the United States Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany. NSA's partnership with Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German foreign intelligence service, was confirmed by BND president Gerhard Schindler.
The agency's European Cryptologic Center (ECC), with 240 employees in 2011, is headquartered at a US military compound in Griesheim, near Frankfurt in Germany. A 2011 NSA report indicates that the ECC is responsible for the "largest analysis and productivity in Europe" and focusses on various priorities, including Africa, Europe, the Middle East and counterterrorism operations.
NSA operates RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, which was, according to BBC News in 2007, the largest electronic monitoring station in the world. Planned in 1954, and opened in 1960, the base covered 562 acres (227 ha; 0.878 sq mi) in 1999.
Following the signing in 1946–1956 of the UKUSA Agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who then cooperated on signals intelligence and Echelon, NSA stations were built at GCHQ Bude in Morwenstow, United Kingdom; Geraldton, Pine Gap and Shoal Bay, Australia; Leitrim and Ottawa, Canada; Misawa, Japan; and Waihopai and Tangimoana, New Zealand.
The Yakima Herald-Republic cited Bamford, saying that many of NSA's bases for its Echelon program were a legacy system, using outdated, 1990s technology. In 2004, NSA closed its operations at Bad Aibling Station (Field Station 81) in Bad Aibling, Germany. In 2012, NSA began to move some of its operations at Yakima Research Station, Yakima Training Center, in Washington state to Colorado, planning to leave Yakima closed. As of 2013, NSA also intended to close operations at Sugar Grove, West Virginia.
In 2009, to protect its assets and to access more electricity, NSA sought to decentralize and expand its existing facilities in Ft. Meade and Menwith Hill, the latter expansion expected to be completed by 2015.
On January 6, 2011 a groundbreaking ceremony was held to begin construction on NSA's first Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative (CNCI) Data Center, known as the "Utah Data Center" for short. The $1.5B data center is being built at Camp Williams, Utah, located 25 miles (40 km) south of Salt Lake City, and will help support the agency's National Cyber-security Initiative. It is expected to be operational by September 2013.
As of 2012, NSA collected intelligence from four geostationary satellites. Satellite receivers were at Roaring Creek Station in Catawissa, Pennsylvania and Salt Creek Station in Arbuckle, California. It operated ten to twenty taps on U.S. telecom switches. NSA had installations in several U.S. states and from them observed intercepts from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
Other U.S. facilities
Increments II and III are expected to be completed by 2030, and would quadruple the space, covering 5,800,000 square feet (54 ha; 0.21 sq mi) with 60 buildings and 40 parking garages. Defense contractors are also establishing or expanding cybersecurity facilities near the NSA and around the Washington metropolitan area.
NSA held a groundbreaking ceremony at Ft. Meade in May 2013 for its High Performance Computing Center 2, expected to open in 2016. Called Site M, the center has a 150 megawatt power substation, 14 administrative buildings and 10 parking garages. It cost $3.2 billion and covers 227 acres (92 ha; 0.355 sq mi). The center is 1,800,000 square feet (17 ha; 0.065 sq mi) and initially uses 60 megawatts of electricity.
Construction of additional buildings began after the agency occupied buildings at Ft. Meade in the late 1950s, which they soon outgrew. In 1963 the new headquarters building, nine stories tall, opened. NSA workers referred to the building as the "Headquarters Building" and since the NSA management occupied the top floor, workers used "Ninth Floor" to refer to their leaders. COMSEC remained in Washington, D.C., until its new building was completed in 1968. In September 1986, the Operations 2A and 2B buildings, both copper-shielded to prevent eavesdropping, opened with a dedication by President Ronald Reagan. The four NSA buildings became known as the "Big Four." The NSA director moved to 2B when it opened.
When the agency was established, its headquarters and cryptographic center were in the Naval Security Station in Fort Meade, Maryland, was ultimately chosen as NSA headquarters because it was far enough away from Washington, D.C. in case of a nuclear strike and was close enough so its employees would not have to move their families.
History of headquarters
One estimate put the potential for power consumption by the new Utah Data Center at $40 million per year.
Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE, now Constellation Energy) provided NSA with 65 to 75 megawatts at Ft. Meade in 2007, and expected that an increase of 10 to 15 megawatts would be needed later that year. In 2011, NSA at Ft. Meade was Maryland's largest consumer of power. In 2007, as BGE's largest customer, NSA bought as much electricity as Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland.
Following a major power outage in 2000, in 2003 and in follow-ups through 2007, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA was at risk of electrical overload because of insufficient internal electrical infrastructure at Fort Meade to support the amount of equipment being installed. This problem was apparently recognized in the 1990s but not made a priority, and "now the agency's ability to keep its operations going is threatened."
 The employees at the NSA headquarters reside in various places in the
The OPS2A building, the tallest building in the NSA complex and the location of much of the agency's operations directorate, is accessible from the visitor center. Bamford described it as a "dark glass Rubik's Cube". The facility's "red corridor" houses non-security operations such as concessions and the drug store. The name refers to the "red badge" which is worn by someone without a security clearance. The NSA headquarters includes a cafeteria, a credit union, ticket counters for airlines and entertainment, a barbershop, and a bank. NSA headquarters has its own post office, fire department, and police force.
The facility has over 100 watchposts, one of them being the visitor control center, a two-story area that serves as the entrance. At the entrance, a white pentagonal structure, visitor badges are issued to visitors and security clearances of employees are checked. The visitor center includes a painting of the NSA seal.
The main NSA headquarters and operations building is what James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets, describes as "a modern boxy structure" that appears similar to "any stylish office building." The building is covered with one-way dark glass, which is lined with copper shielding in order to prevent espionage by trapping in signals and sounds. It contains 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m2), or more than 68 acres (28 ha), of floor space; Bamford said that the U.S. Capitol "could easily fit inside it four times over."
NSA is the largest employer in the U.S. state of Maryland, and two-thirds of its personnel work at Ft. Meade. Built on 350 acres (140 ha; 0.55 sq mi) of Ft. Meade's 5,000 acres (2,000 ha; 7.8 sq mi), the site has 1,300 buildings and an estimated 18,000 parking spaces.
Headquarters for the National Security Agency is located at in Maryland, although it is separate from other compounds and agencies that are based within this same military installation. Ft. Meade is about 20 mi (32 km) southwest of Baltimore, and 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Washington, DC. The NSA has its own exit off Maryland Route 295 South labeled "NSA Employees Only". The exit may only be used by people with the proper clearances, and security vehicles parked along the road guard the entrance.
The National Security Agency/Central Security Service Cryptologic Memorial honors and remembers the fallen personnel, both military and civilian, of these intelligence missions. It is made of black granite, and has 171 names (as of 2013) carved into it. It is located at NSA headquarters. A tradition of declassifying the stories of the fallen was begun in 2001.
Crews associated with NSA missions have been involved in a number of dangerous and deadly situations. The USS Liberty incident in 1967 and USS Pueblo incident in 1968 are examples of the losses endured during the Cold War.
The NSA's flag consists of the agency's seal on a light blue background.
When the NSA was created, the agency had no emblem and used that of the Department of Defense. The agency adopted its first of two emblems in 1963. The current NSA insignia has been in use since 1965, when then-Director, LTG Marshall S. Carter (USA) ordered the creation of a device to represent the agency.
The heraldic insignia of NSA consists of an eagle inside a circle, grasping a key in its talons. The eagle represents the agency's national mission. Its breast features a shield with bands of red and white, taken from the Great Seal of the United States and representing Congress. The key is taken from the emblem of Saint Peter and represents security.
Insignia and memorials
The number of exemptions from legal requirements has been criticized. When in 1964 the Congress was hearing a bill giving the director of the NSA the power to fire at will any employee, the Washington Post wrote: "This is the very definition of arbitrariness. It means that an employee could be discharged and disgraced on the basis of anonymous allegations without the slightest opportunity to defend himself." Yet, the bill was accepted by an overwhelming majority.
After Edward Snowden revealed his identity in 2013, the NSA began requiring polygraphing of employees once per quarter.
In 2010 the NSA produced a video explaining its polygraph process. The video, ten minutes long, is titled "The Truth About the Polygraph" and was posted to the website of the Orwellian".
There are also "special access examination" polygraphs for employees who wish to work in highly sensitive areas, and those polygraphs cover counterintelligence questions and some questions about behavior. NSA's brochure states that the average test length is between two and four hours. A 1983 report of the Office of Technology Assessment stated that "It appears that the NSA [National Security Agency] (and possibly CIA) use the polygraph not to determine deception or truthfulness per se, but as a technique of interrogation to encourage admissions." Sometimes applicants in the polygraph process confess to committing felonies such as murder, rape, and selling of illegal drugs. Between 1974 and 1979, of the 20,511 job applicants who took polygraph tests, 695 (3.4%) confessed to previous felony crimes; almost all of those crimes had been undetected.
The NSA conducts polygraph tests of employees. For new employees, the tests are meant to discover enemy spies who are applying to the NSA and to uncover any information that could make an applicant pliant to coercion. As part of the latter, historically EPQs or "embarrassing personal questions" about sexual behavior had been included in the NSA polygraph. The NSA also conducts five-year periodic reinvestigation polygraphs of employees, focusing on counterintelligence programs. In addition the NSA conducts aperiodic polygraph investigations in order to find spies and leakers; those who refuse to take them may receive "termination of employment", according to a 1982 memorandum from the director of the NSA.
Edward Snowden's leaking of PRISM in 2013 caused the NSA to institute a "two-man rule" where two system administrators are required to be present when one accesses certain sensitive information. Snowden claims he suggested such a rule in 2009.
The very same day, an NSA clerk-messenger committed suicide as ongoing investigations disclosed that he had sold secret information to the Soviets on a regular basis. The reluctance of Congressional houses to look into these affairs had prompted a journalist to write "If a similar series of tragic blunders occurred in any ordinary agency of Government an aroused public would insist that those responsible be officially censured, demoted, or fired." David Kahn criticized the NSA's tactics of concealing its doings as smug and the Congress' blind faith in the agency's right-doing as shortsighted, and pointed out the necessity of surveillance by the Congress to prevent abuse of power.
The NSA received criticism early on in 1960 after two agents had defected to the Soviet Union. Investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee and a special subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee revealed severe cases of ignorance in personnel security regulations, prompting the former personnel director and the director of security to step down and leading to the adoption of stricter security practices. Nonetheless, security breaches reoccurred only a year later when in an issue of Izvestia of July 23, 1963, a former NSA employee published several cryptologic secrets.
As of 2013 about 1,000 system administrators work for the NSA.
In 2012, the NSA said more than 30,000 employees worked at Ft. Meade and other facilities. In 2012, John C. Inglis, the deputy director, said that the total number of NSA employees is "somewhere between 37,000 and one billion" as a joke, and stated that the agency is "probably the biggest employer of introverts." In 2013 Der Spiegel stated that the NSA had 40,000 employees. More widely, it has been described as the world's largest single employer of mathematicians. Some NSA employees form part of the workforce of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency that provides the NSA with satellite signals intelligence.
The number of NSA employees is officially classified but there are several sources providing estimates. In 1961, NSA had 59,000 military and civilian employees, which grew to 93,067 in 1969, of which 19,300 worked at the headquarters at Fort Meade. In the early 1980s NSA had roughly 50,000 military and civilian personnel. By 1989 this number had grown again to 75,000, of which 25,000 worked at the NSA headquarters. Between 1990 and 1995 the NSA's budget and workforce were cut by one third, which led to a substantial loss of experience.
- NSA/CSS Threat Operations Center (NTOC), which is the primary NSA/CSS partner for Department of Homeland Security response to cyber incidents. The NTOC establishes real-time network awareness and threat characterization capabilities to forecast, alert, and attribute malicious activity and enable the coordination of Computer Network Operations. The NTOC was established in 2004 as a joint Information Assurance and Signals Intelligence project.
- National Security Operations Center (NSOC), which is the NSA's current operations center and focal point for time-sensitive SIGINT reporting for the United States SIGINT System (USSS). This center was established in 1968 as the National SIGINT Watch Center (NSWC) and renamed into National SIGINT Operations Center (NSOC) in 1973. This "nerve center of the NSA" got its current name in 1996.
The NSA maintains at least two watch centers:
There's also an office of Information Sharing Services (ISS), led by a chief and a deputy chief.
After president George W. Bush initiated the President's Surveillance Program (PSP) in 2001, the NSA created a 24-hour Metadata Analysis Center (MAC), followed in 2004 by the Advanced Analysis Division (AAD), with the mission of analyzing content, internet metadata and telephone metadata. Both units were part of the Signals Intelligence Directorate.
In the year 2000, a leadership team was formed, consisting of the Director, the Deputy Director and the Directors of the Signals Intelligence (SID), the Information Assurance (IAD) and the Technical Directorate (TD). The chiefs of other main NSA divisions became associate directors of the senior leadership team.
- T - Technical Directorate (TD)
- Directorate for Education and Training
- Directorate for Corporate Leadership
- Foreign Affairs Directorate, which acts as liaison with foreign intelligence services, counter-intelligence centers and the UKUSA-partners.
- Acquisitions and Procurement Directorate
S - Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID), which is responsible for the collection, analysis, production and dissemination of signals intelligence. This directorate is led by a director and a deputy director. The SID consists of the following divisions:
- S1 - Customer Relations
S2 - Analysis and Production Centers, with the following so-called Product Lines:
- S2A: South Asia, S2B: China and Korea, S2C: International Security, S2E: Middle East/Asia, S2F: International Crime, S2G: Counter-proliferation, S2H: Russia, S2I: Counter-terrorism, S2J: Weapons and Space, S2T: Current Threats
S3 - Data Acquisition, with these divisions for the main collection programs:
- S31 - Cryptanalysis and Exploitation Services (CES)
- S32 - Tailored Access Operations (TAO), which hacks into foreign computers to conduct cyber-espionage and reportedly is "the largest and arguably the most important component of the NSA's huge Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Directorate, consisting of over 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers."
- S33 - Global Access Operations (GAO), which is responsible for intercepts from satellites and other international SIGINT platforms. A tool which details and maps the information collected by this unit is code-named Boundless Informant.
- S34 - Collections Strategies and Requirements Center
- S35 - Special Source Operations (SSO), which is responsible for domestic and compartmented collection programs, like for example the PRISM program. Special Source Operations is also mentioned in connection to the FAIRVIEW collection program.
- R - Research Directorate, which conducts research on signals intelligence and on information assurance for the U.S. Government.
- Q - Security and Counterintelligence
- M - Human Resources
- L - Installation and Logistics
- J - Directorate only known from unit J2, the Cryptologic Intelligence Unit
- I - Information Assurance Directorate (IAD), which ensures availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation of national security and telecommunications and information systems (national security systems).
- G - Directorate only known from unit G112, the office that manages the Senior Span platform, attached to the U2 spy planes.
- F - Directorate only known from unit F6, the Special Collection Service (SCS), which is a joint program created by CIA and NSA in 1978 to facilitate clandestine activities such as bugging computers throughout the world, using the expertise of both agencies.
The main elements of the organizational structure of the NSA are:
As of 2013 NSA has about a dozen directorates, which are designated by a letter, although not all of them are publicly known. The directorates are divided in divisions and units starting with the letter of the parent directorate, followed by a number for the division, the sub-unit or a sub-sub-unit. New information about NSA units was revealed in top secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden since June 2013.
Each of these directorates consisted of several groups or elements, designated by a letter. There were for example the A Group, which was responsible for all SIGINT operations against the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and G Group, which was responsible for SIGINT related to all non-communist countries. These groups were divided in units designated by an additional number, like unit A5 for breaking Soviet codes, and G6, being the office for the Middle East, North Africa, Cuba, Central and South America.
- The Operations Directorate, which was responsible for SIGINT collection and processing.
- The Technology and Systems Directorate, which develops new technologies for SIGINT collection and processing.
- The Information Systems Security Directorate, which was responsible for NSA's communications and information security missions.
- The Plans, Policy and Programs Directorate, which provided staff support and general direction for the Agency.
- The Support Services Directorate, which provided logistical and administrative support activities.
As of the mid-1990s, the National Security Agency was organized into five Directorates:
Unlike other intelligence organizations such as CIA or DIA, NSA has always been particularly reticent concerning its internal organizational structure.
NSA also has an Inspector General, head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a General Counsel, head of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and a Director of Compliance, who is head of the Office of the Director of Compliance (ODOC).
The NSA is led by the Deputy Director, who is the highest-ranking civilian within the NSA/CSS.
The U.S. government has aggressively sought to dismiss and challenge Fourth Amendment cases raised against it, and has granted retroactive immunity to ISPs and telecoms participating in domestic surveillance. The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country, and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.
Regarding the necessity of these NSA programs, Alexander stated on June 27 that the NSA's bulk phone and Internet intercepts had been instrumental in preventing 54 terrorist "events", including 13 in the US, and in all but one of these cases had provided the initial tip to "unravel the threat stream". On July 31 NSA Deputy Director John Inglis conceded to the Senate that these intercepts had not been vital in stopping any terrorist attacks, but were "close" to vital in identifying and convicting four San Diego men for sending US$8,930 to Al-Shabaab, a militia that conducts terrorism in Somalia.
On March 20, 2013 the Director of National Intelligence, Lieutenant General James Clapper, testified before Congress that the NSA does not wittingly collect any kind of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans, but he retracted this in June after details of the PRISM program were published, and stated instead that meta-data of phone and internet traffic are collected, but no actual message contents. This was corroborated by the NSA Director, General Keith Alexander, before it was revealed that the XKeyscore program collects the contents of millions of emails from US citizens without warrant, as well as "nearly everything a user does on the Internet". Alexander later admitted that "content" is collected, but stated that it is simply stored and never analyzed or searched unless there is "a nexus to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups".
An October 2014 United Nations report condemned mass surveillance by the United States and other countries as violating multiple international treaties and conventions that guarantee core privacy rights.
Later that month, U.S. District Judge William Pauley ruled that the NSA’s collection of telephone records is legal and valuable in the fight against terrorism. In his opinion, he wrote, "a bulk telephony metadata collection program [is] a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data" and noted that a similar collection of data prior to 9/11 might have prevented the attack.
Legal opinions on the NSA's bulk collection program have differed. In mid-December, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that the "almost-Orwellian" program likely violates the Constitution, and wrote, "I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary invasion' than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on 'that degree of privacy' that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware 'the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,' would be aghast."
Despite President Obama's claims that these programs have congressional oversight, members of Congress were unaware of the existence of these NSA programs or the secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, and have consistently been denied access to basic information about them. Obama has also claimed that there are legal checks in place to prevent inappropriate access of data and that there have been no examples of abuse; however, the secret FISC court charged with regulating the NSA's activities is, according to its chief judge, incapable of investigating or verifying how often the NSA breaks even its own secret rules. It has since been reported that the NSA violated its own rules on data access thousands of times a year, many of these violations involving large-scale data interceptions; and that NSA officers have even used data intercepts to spy on love interests. The NSA has "generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information" by illegally sharing its intercepts with other law enforcement agencies. A March 2009 opinion of the FISC court, released by court order, states that protocols restricting data queries had been "so frequently and systemically violated that it can be fairly said that this critical element of the overall ... regime has never functioned effectively." In 2011 the same court noted that the "volume and nature" of the NSA's bulk foreign internet intercepts was "fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe". Email contact lists (including those of US citizens) are collected at numerous foreign locations to work around the illegality of doing so on US soil.
According to a report in The Washington Post in July 2014, relying on information furnished by Snowden, 90% of those placed under surveillance in the U.S. are ordinary Americans, and are not the intended targets. The newspaper said it had examined documents including emails, message texts, and online accounts, that support the claim.
The NSA also spies on influential Muslims to obtain information that could be used to discredit them, such as their use of pornography. The targets, both domestic and abroad, are not suspected of any crime but hold religious or political views deemed "radical" by the NSA.
Domestically, the NSA collects and stores metadata records of phone calls, including over 120 million US Verizon subscribers as well as internet communications, relying on a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act whereby the entirety of US communications may be considered "relevant" to a terrorism investigation if it is expected that even a tiny minority may relate to terrorism. The NSA supplies foreign intercepts to the DEA, IRS and other law enforcement agencies, who use these to initiate criminal investigations. Federal agents are then instructed to "recreate" the investigative trail via parallel construction.
The NSA tracks the locations of hundreds of millions of cellphones per day, allowing them to map people's movements and relationships in detail. It reportedly has access to all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk, and collects hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts each year. It has also managed to weaken much of the encryption used on the Internet (by collaborating with, coercing or otherwise infiltrating numerous technology companies), so that the majority of Internet privacy is now vulnerable to the NSA and other attackers.
A dedicated unit of the NSA locates targets for the CIA for extrajudicial assassination in the Middle East. The NSA has also spied extensively on the European Union, the United Nations and numerous governments including allies and trading partners in Europe, South America and Asia.
It was revealed that the NSA intercepts telephone and internet communications of over a billion people worldwide, seeking information on terrorism as well as foreign politics, economics and "commercial secrets". In a declassified document it was revealed that 17,835 phone lines were on an improperly permitted "alert list" from 2006 to 2009 in breach of compliance, which tagged these phone lines for daily monitoring. Eleven percent of these monitored phone lines met the agency's legal standard for "reasonably articulable suspicion"(RAS).
Scope of surveillance
The massive extent of the NSA's spying, both foreign and domestic, was revealed to the public in a series of detailed disclosures of internal NSA documents beginning in June 2013. Most of the disclosures were leaked by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.
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Global surveillance disclosures
Turbulence started in 2005. It was developed in small, inexpensive 'test' pieces rather than one grand plan like Trailblazer. It also included offensive cyber-warfare capabilities, like injecting malware into remote computers. Congress criticized Turbulence in 2007 for having similar bureaucratic problems as Trailblazer. It was to be a realization of information processing at higher speeds in cyberspace.
Trailblazer Project ramped up in 2002. SAIC, Boeing, CSC, IBM, and Litton worked on it. Some NSA whistleblowers complained internally about major problems surrounding Trailblazer. This led to investigations by Congress and the NSA and DoD Inspectors General. The project was cancelled in early 2004; it was late, over budget, and didn't do what it was supposed to do. The Baltimore Sun ran articles about this in 2006–07. The government then raided the whistleblowers' houses. One of them, Thomas Drake, was charged with violating in 2010 in an unusual use of espionage law. He and his defenders claim that he was actually being persecuted for challenging the Trailblazer Project. In 2011, all 10 original charges against Drake were dropped.
In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the NSA created new IT systems to deal with the flood of information from new technologies like the internet and cellphones. ThinThread contained advanced data mining capabilities. It also had a 'privacy mechanism'; surveillance was stored encrypted; decryption required a warrant. The research done under this program may have contributed to the technology used in later systems. ThinThread was cancelled when Michael Hayden chose Trailblazer, which did not include ThinThread's privacy system.
War on Terror
In 1999, a multi-year investigation by the European Parliament highlighted the NSA's role in economic espionage in a report entitled 'Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information'. That year, the NSA founded the NSA Hall of Honor, a memorial at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland. The memorial is a, "tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to American cryptology". NSA employees must be retired for more than fifteen years to qualify for the memorial.
In 1986, the NSA intercepted the communications of the Libyan government during the immediate aftermath of the Berlin discotheque bombing. The White House asserted that the NSA interception had provided "irrefutable" evidence that Libya was behind the bombing, which U.S. President Ronald Reagan cited as a justification for the 1986 United States bombing of Libya.
From 1980s to 1990s
In the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal, a congressional hearing in 1975 led by Sen. Frank Church revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain’s SIGINT intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. Benjamin Spock. Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of FBI, CIA and NSA facilities. Senator Frank Church uncovered previously unknown activity, such as a CIA plot (ordered by the administration of President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro. The investigation also uncovered NSA's wiretaps on targeted American citizens.
Church Committee hearings
A secret operation code-named "MINARET" was set up by the NSA to monitor the phone communications of Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, as well as major civil rights leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King, and prominent U.S. journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War. However the project turned out to be controversial, and an internal review by the NSA concluded that its Minaret program was "disreputable if not outright illegal."
In the 1960s, the NSA played a key role in expanding America's commitment to the Vietnam War by providing evidence of a North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USS Maddox during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
The agency was formally established by Truman in a memorandum of October 24, 1952, that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9. Since President Truman's memo was a classified document, the existence of the NSA was not known to the public at that time. Due to its ultra-secrecy the U.S. intelligence community referred to the NSA as "No Such Agency".
On May 20, 1949, all cryptologic activities were centralized under a national organization called the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA). This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The AFSA was tasked to direct Department of Defense communications and electronic intelligence activities, except those of U.S. military intelligence units. However, the AFSA was unable to centralize communications intelligence and failed to coordinate with civilian agencies that shared its interests such as the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In December 1951, President Harry S. Truman ordered a panel to investigate how AFSA had failed to achieve its goals. The results of the investigation led to improvements and its redesignation as the National Security Agency.
During Army Security Agency (ASA), and it was placed under the leadership of the Director of Military Intelligence.
World War II and its aftermath
Despite the American Black Chamber's initial successes, it was shut down in 1929 by U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, who defended his decision by stating: "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail".
Other "Black Chambers" were also found in Europe. They were established by the French and British governments to read the letters of targeted individuals, employing a variety of techniques to surreptitiously open, copy, and reseal correspondence before forwarding it to unsuspecting recipients.
MI-8 also operated the so-called "Black Chamber". The Black Chamber was located on East 37th Street in Manhattan. Its purpose was to crack the communications codes of foreign governments. Jointly supported by the State Department and the War Department, the chamber persuaded Western Union, the largest U.S. telegram company, to allow government officials to monitor private communications passing through the company’s wires.
The origins of the National Security Agency can be traced back to April 28, 1917, three weeks after the U.S. Congress declared war on Germany in Herbert O. Yardley was assigned to head the unit. At that point, the unit consisted of Yardley and two civilian clerks. It absorbed the navy's cryptoanalysis functions in July 1918. World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and MI-8 moved to New York City on May 20, 1919, where it continued intelligence activities as the Code Compilation Company under the direction of Yardley.
- Army predecessor 1.1
- Black Chamber 1.2
- World War II and its aftermath 1.3
- Vietnam War 1.4
- Church Committee hearings 1.5
- From 1980s to 1990s 1.6
- War on Terror 1.7
Global surveillance disclosures 1.8
- Scope of surveillance 1.8.1
- Legal accountability 1.8.2
- Official responses 1.8.3
Organizational structure 2
- Structure 2.1
- Watch centers 2.2
Security issues 2.3.1
- Polygraphing 22.214.171.124
- Arbitrary firing 2.3.2
- Security issues 2.3.1
- Insignia and memorials 2.4
- Power consumption 3.1.1
- History of headquarters 3.1.2
- Computing 3.1.3
- Other U.S. facilities 3.2
- International stations 3.3
- Headquarters 3.1
- Mission 4.1
- Echelon 4.2
- Data mining 4.3
- Encryption 4.4
Domestic activity 5
George W. Bush administration 5.1
- Warrantless wiretaps 5.1.1
- AT&T Internet monitoring 5.1.2
- Data mining 5.1.3
- Illegally obtained evidence 5.1.4
Domestic surveillance under Barack Obama 5.2
- Polling 5.2.1
Terrorist Attacks prevented by Domestic Surveillance 5.3
- 2009 New York City Subway bomb plot 5.3.1
- George W. Bush administration 5.1
International activity 6
- Telecommunication records 6.1
Software backdoors 6.2
- Linux kernel 6.2.1
- Microsoft Windows 6.2.2
- IBM Notes 6.2.3
- Boomerang routing 6.3
- Hardware implanting 6.4
Role in scientific research and development 7
- Data Encryption Standard 7.1
- Advanced Encryption Standard 7.2
- NSA encryption systems 7.3
- SHA 7.4
- Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator 7.5
- Clipper chip 7.6
- Perfect Citizen 7.7
- Academic research 7.8
- Patents 7.9
- NSANet (NSA's Intranet) 8
- National Computer Security Center 9
- See also 10
- References 11
- Notes 12
- Further reading 13
- External links 14
NSA surveillance has been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, such as its spying on prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders or economic espionage. In 2013, the extent of the NSA's secret surveillance programs was revealed to the public by Edward Snowden. According to the leaked documents, the NSA intercepts the communications of over a billion people worldwide and tracks the movement of hundreds of millions of people using cellphones. It has also created or maintained security vulnerabilities in most software and encryption, leaving the majority of the Internet susceptible to cyber attacks from the NSA and other parties. Internationally, in addition to the various data sharing concerns that persist, research has pointed to the NSA's ability to surveil the domestic internet traffic of foreign countries through "boomerang routing".
Unlike the Central Security Service (CSS), which was created to facilitate cooperation between NSA and other U.S. military cryptanalysis components. Additionally, the NSA Director simultaneously serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and as Chief of the Central Security Service.