James Bamford — The Shadow Factory The Ultra Secret NSA from 911 to the Eavesdropping on America — Videos

Posted on December 27, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Books, College, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Data, Demographics, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Education, Energy, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, government, government spending, Inflation, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Nuclear Power, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Press, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Strategy, Talk Radio, Taxes, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

9/11 NSA + CIA : James Bamford’s documentary

James Bamford Describes His NEW Interview With Edward Snowden

James Bamford on NSA Leaks – Charlie Rose 06/13/2013

James Bamford: Inside the NSA’s Largest Secret Domestic Spy Center

James Bamford The Shadow Factory The Ultra Secret NSA from 911 to the Eavesdropping on America 2008

DIGITAL AGE – Was 9/11 A Digital Failure? – James Bamford – March 8, 2009

James Bamford on Declassified History, NSA & the Need for More Investigative Journalism

James Bamford – Confronting the Surveillance Society (2007)

“The NSA Is Lying”: U.S. Government Has Copies of Most of Your Emails Says NSA Whistleblower

An Inside Look at the NSA With Whistleblower William Binney (Part 1 of 2)

An Inside Look at the NSA With Whistleblower William Binney (Part 2 of 2)

William Binney – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)

NSA whistleblower William Binney Keynote at HOPE Number Nine

He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake speaks at National Press Club – March 15, 2013

PBS Nova S36E11 The Spy Factory Full Documentary

Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets

Full Documentaries – National Security Agency Secrets – (NSA) Special Documentary

NSA can spy on 98 percent of the world


Glenn Greenwald on Domestic Surveillance: NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Controversy (2006)

Enemy of the State Full Movie Streaming


Yahoo Releases Documents Proving NSA Forced Them To Violate User Privacy

The Shadow Factory

James Bamford

V. James Bamford (born September 15, 1946) is an American bestselling author and journalist noted for his writing about United Statesintelligence agencies, especially the National Security Agency (NSA).[1] Bamford has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, as a distinguished visiting professor and has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and many other publications. In 2006, he won the National Magazine Award for Reporting for his article, “The Man Who Sold The War,” published in Rolling Stone


Bamford was born on September 15, 1946 and raised in Natick, Massachusetts. During the Vietnam War, he spent three years in the United States Navy as an intelligence analyst. He was assigned to a National Security Agency unit in Hawaii — as part of his three years of active duty in the Navy during the Vietnam War. With the G.I. Bill he would earn his law degree as Juris Doctor, International Law from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts.[2] Then, as a reservist in law school, he blew the whistle on the NSA when he stumbled across a program that involved illegally eavesdropping on US citizens. He testified about the program in a closed hearing before the Church Committee, the congressional investigation that led to sweeping reforms of US intelligence abuses in the 1970s.[3][4]

After graduation, he decided to write his first book about the NSA: The Puzzle Palace in 1982. At several points he was threatened with prosecution under the Espionage Act, a 1917 law. Those threats had no basis and were never carried out. Rather than practice law, he entered the field of journalism, becoming an expert on the then highly secretive NSA. His book was researched through the extensive use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).[5] As a then super-secret agency, NSA was concerned about its unveiling to the world; accordingly, the government reclassified certain documents in an effort to stop publication.[6][7] The publication of his book resulted in threats of prosecution, when the Department of Justice claimed that he was holding classified documents. His counter argument was that the documents had been given to him under review by the Carter Administration and were declassified when he got them; under an Executive Order in place at the time, documents that had been declassified could not be “reclassified”. President Ronald Reagan later issued a new Executive Order to make it possible to reclassify documents, but that could not be applied against Bamford due to Constitutional prohibition against ex post facto law.[8][9]

He next published Body of Secrets, also about the NSA, in 2001, and A Pretext for War (2004). His 2008 book, The Shadow Factory, became a New York Times best-seller and was named by The Washington Post as one of “The Best Books of 2008.” It was the third book in his NSA trilogy and focused on the NSA involvement in the 9/11 investigations and intelligence failures. The NOVA‘s The Spy Factory[10] was based on this book.

Bamford now lectures nationally in the United States and was a distinguished visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He also spent nearly a decade as the Washington investigative producer for ABC‘s World News Tonight. In 2006, he received the National Magazine Award for Reporting, the top prize in magazine writing.

Bamford was also a consultant for the defense of NSA whistle blower Thomas Andrews Drake.[11]

In 2014, Bamford conducted the lengthiest in person interview to date with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in Moscow. The interview was published in Wired magazine in August of that year with the title “The Most Wanted Man In the World”.[12]




Date Publication Title
8/9/82 Newsday (Viewpoints Section) “The UN: A Gold Mine for U.S. Intelligence”
11/6/82 The Nation “How I Got the NSA Files . . . How Reagan Tried to Get Them Back”
12/82 The New York Times Book Review “On the Trail of a Mole”
9/9/83 The Boston Globe (Op-Ed Section) “Victim of the Long Electronic War”
10/83 Boston Observer “How We Know What We Know About KAL 007”
12/4/83 The Washington Post Magazine “Big Brother is Listening”
1/8/84 The Washington Post Magazine “The Last Flight of KAL 007: How the U.S. Watches The Soviets in the Far East”
1/13/85 The New York Times Magazine “America’s Supersecret Eyes in Space”
4/21/85 Los Angeles Times Book Review “Black Box: KAL 007 and the Superpowers; KAL Flight 007: The Hidden Story”
6/9/85 The Washington Post Book World “Stansfield Turner and the Secrets of the CIA”
4/6/86 The Washington Post Book World “The Spy Plane That Flew Into History”
5/86 Proceedings (U.S. Naval Institute) “Naval Review Issue, The Walker Spy Case: Navy Medicine, Maritime Terrorism”
5/24/86 The Boston Globe (Op-Ed Section) “U.S. Satellite Photos of Plant Should Have Been Released”
7/6/86 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Searching for Security, Casey Fires at the Press”
7/13/86 The New York Times Book Review “Keeping Intelligence Smart”
8/3/86 The New York Times Book Review “When Ideology Was Thicker Than Money”
9/28/86 Los Angeles Times Book Review “Shootdown, The Target is Destroyed”
10/5/86 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “CIA Gets Billing Again in Nicaragua, as Covert Action Becomes the Norm”
11/9/86 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Satellites Show a World of Secrets, to Rival Powers and Now the Press”
1/4/87 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Reagan CIA: Arrogance Instead of Oversight”
1/18/87 The New York Times Magazine “Carlucci And The N.S.C.”
2/8/87 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “An Aspirin for the CIA, But Major Surgery Needed”
2/8/87 The Washington Post Book World “Bankrolling International Murder and Extortion”
6/14/87 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Ghosts of CIA Haunt Hearings”
10/11/87 Los Angeles Times Magazine “They Also Serve Who Watch and Listen”
10/18/87 The Washington Post Book World “The Nugan Hand Affair: Banking on Espionage”
11/29/87 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Carlucci: Big Man About Intelligence”
2/21/88 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “FBI: If It’s Under Cover, It May Be Out of Control”
3/6/88 Los Angeles Times Magazine “Taking on The Mob”
5/29/88 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Fighting the Drug War, Congress Opens Door to Intelligence Misdeeds”
6/88 Proceedings (U.S. Naval Institute) “Book Review, Merchants of Treason”
6/26/88 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “A Pentagon of Impurity”
7/3/88 The Washington Post Book World “Where Secret Armies Clash By Night”
8/7/88 The New York Times Book Review “A Mole Without Portfolio”
9/9/88 The New York Times (Op-Ed Section) Reagan’s Done Nothing to Stop the Spies
2/9/92 The New York Times Book Review “Of Cabals and Coups”
1/29/95 The New York Times Book Review “The View From the KGB”
3/3/96 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Has a 30-Year Mystery Unraveled?”
8/20/98 The New York Times (Op-Ed Section) “Our Best Spies are in Space”
8/26/99 The New York Times (Op-Ed Section) “Spy Stories”
11/14/99 The Washington Post (Sunday Outlook Section) “Loud and Clear: The Most Secret of Secret Agencies Operates Under Outdated Laws”
3/18/01 The New York Times Magazine “My Friend The Spy: Robert Hanssen is Accused of Deceiving the FBI. If so, He Deceived Me Too.”
4/5/01 The New York Times (Op-Ed Section) “The Danger of Spy Planes”
4/12/01 USA Today (Op-Ed Section) “Rethink Spy Missions”
8/8/01 The Guardian (London) “Attack on the USS Liberty”
8/9/01 The Guardian (London) “The Cover-Up”
8/28/01 The New York Times (Op-Ed Section) “Guard the Secrets, Then Catch the Spies”
9/18/01 The New York Times “Of Atomic Secrets, Loyalty and Bitter Deceit”
12/01 Nieman Reports (Harvard) “Is The Press Up to The Task of Reporting The Stories of September 11?”
1/20/02 The Washington Post Book World “The Wrong Man”
2/7/02 The New York Times “A Former CIA Cowboy and His Disillusioning Ride”
6/2/02 The Washington Post (Sunday Outlook Section) “Intelligence Failures”
7/19/02 USA Today (Op-Ed Section) “Linguist Reserve Corp Answers Terror Need”
8/27/02 The New York Times (Week in Review Section) “Washington Bends The Rules”
8/29/02 USA Today (Op-Ed Section) Bush Wrong to Use Pretext as Excuse to Invade Iraq
9/8/02 The New York Times (Week in Review Section) “War of Secrets”
9/8/02 The Washington Post Book World “Strategic Thinking”
9/14/02 The Guardian (London) “What Big Ears You Have”
9/17/02 USA Today (Op-Ed Section) “Untested Administration Hawks Clamor for War”
10/24/02 USA Today (Op-Ed Section) “Maintain CIA’s Independence”
11/24/02 The New York Times (Week in Review Section) “How To (De-)Centralize Intelligence”
12/15/02 The Washington Post Book World “Shadow Warriors”
3/23/03 Los Angeles Times Book Review “Ike as Spymaster: Secrets on High”
4/27/03 The Washington Post Book World “A Look Over My Shoulder: Richard Helms at the CIA”
7/4/03 The New York Times “The Labyrinthine Morass of Spying in the Cold War”
2/29/04 The Washington Post Book World “Sowing the Whirlwind”
5/9/04 Los Angeles Times Book Review “Secret Warriors: The Great Game”
6/13/04 The New York Times (Op-Ed Section) “This Spy For Rent”
2/20/05 The Washington Post Book World “We’re Watching Them”
3/28/05 The American Conservative “Breeding Terror: The Intelligence Community Analyzes a Counterproductive War”
12/1/05 Rolling Stone “The Man Who Sold The War”
12/25/05 The New York Times (Week in Review Section) “The Agency That Could Be Big Brother”
1/9/06 The New York Times “Where Spying Starts and Stops”
4/1/06 The Atlantic Monthly “Big Brother is Listening”
8/10/06 Rolling Stone “The Next War: Iran”
8/20/06 The New York Times Book Review “Intelligence Test”
12/12/06 The Washington Post ‘Curveball’ And A Slam Dunk
1/31/07 The New York Times Bush Is Not Above the Law
3/15/12 Wired The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)”
6/12/13 Wired The Secret War
10/2/14 First Look Media The NSA and Me

See also


  1. Jump up^ Scott Shane (October 10, 2008). “Decades on the Trail of a Shadowy Agency”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-08. For 30 years, on a sometimes lonely hunt, James Bamford has pursued that great white whale of American intelligence, the National Security Agency. It has been a jarring ride at times.
  2. Jump up^ “James Bamford”. Random House. Retrieved 2011-03-08. James Bamford was raised in Natick, Massachusetts, and spent three years in the Navy before attending law school in Boston on the G.I Bill. After graduation, intrigued by the machinations of the Watergate scandal, he gravitated toward journalism. However, rather than pursue a newspaper career he decided instead to write a book. …
  3. Jump up^ The Most Wanted Man In the World
  4. Jump up^ Bamford, “The NSA and Me,” The Intercept, 10/02/2014.https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/02/the-nsa-and-me/
  5. Jump up^ National Security Agency: “American-Cryptology-during-the-Cold-War-1945-1989-Book-IV-Cryptologic-Rebirth-1981-1989”
  6. Jump up^ “Bamford, J. The Puzzle Palace. 1982”. NameBase. Archived from the original on 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  7. Jump up^ “Report on a James Bamford Talk at Berkeley”. Lewrockwell.com. 2002-02-11. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  8. Jump up^ James Bamford: Inside the NSA’s Largest and Most Expansive Secret Domestic Spy Center 2 of 2 on YouTube, Democracy Now, Bamford interview with Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh. 2012 Mar 12 (via youtube)
  9. Jump up^ [1]|Bamford, “The NSA and Me,” The Intercept, 10/02/2014.
  10. Jump up^ PBS Spy Factory web page
  11. Jump up^ Drake pleads guilty to misdemeanor in NSA espionage case, Tricia Bishop, 6 10 2011
  12. Jump up^ The Most Wanted Man In the World

External links


National Security Agency

The National Security Agency (NSA) is a United States 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.[8][9] The agency is authorized to accomplish its mission through clandestine means,[10] among which are bugging electronic systems[11] and allegedly engaging in sabotage through subversive software.[12][13]

Originating as a unit to decipher coded communications in World War II, it was officially formed as the NSA by Harry S. Truman in 1952. Since then, it has become one of the largest of U.S. intelligence organizations in terms of personnel and budget,[6][14] operating as part of the Department of Defense and simultaneously reporting to the Director of National Intelligence.

Unlike the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), both of which specialize primarily in foreignhuman espionage, the NSA has no authority to conduct human-source intelligence gathering, although it is often portrayed doing so in popular culture. Instead, the NSA is entrusted with coordination and deconfliction of SIGINT components of otherwise non-SIGINT government organizations, which are prevented by law from engaging in such activities without the approval of the NSA via the Defense Secretary.[15] As part of these streamlining responsibilities, the agency has a co-located organization called 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.

NSA surveillance has been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, such as its spying on prominent anti-Vietnam warleaders 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”.[16]


Army predecessor

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 World War I. A code and cipherdecryption unit was established as the Cable and Telegraph Section which was also known as the Cipher Bureau and Military Intelligence Branch, Section 8 (MI-8). It was headquartered in Washington, D.C. and was part of the war effort under the executive branch without direct Congressional authorization. During the course of the war it was relocated in the army’s organizational chart several times. On July 5, 1917, 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.[17][18]

Black Chamber

Western Union allowed MI-8 to monitor telegraphic communications passing through the company’s wires until 1929.[19]

MI-8 also operated the so-called “Black Chamber“.[20] 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 persuadedWestern Union, the largest U.S. telegram company, to allow government officials to monitor private communications passing through the company’s wires.[21]

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.[22]

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”.[19]

World War II and its aftermath

During World War II, the Signal Security Agency (SSA) was created to intercept and decipher the communications of the Axis powers.[23] When the war ended, the SSA was reorganized as the Army Security Agency (ASA), and it was placed under the leadership of the Director of Military Intelligence.[23]

On May 20, 1949, all cryptologic activities were centralized under a national organization called the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA).[23] This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[24] The AFSA was tasked to direct Department of Defense communications and electronic intelligence activities, except those of U.S. military intelligence units.[24] 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).[24] In December 1951, President Harry S. Trumanordered 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.[25]

The agency was formally established by Truman in a memorandum of October 24, 1952, that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9.[26] Since President Truman’s memo was a classified document,[26] 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”.[27]

Vietnam War

Main article: Project MINARET

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 destroyerUSS Maddox during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.[28]

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.[29] 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.”[29]

Church Committee hearings

Further information: Watergate scandal and Church Committee

In the aftermath of the Watergate Scandal, a congressional hearing in 1975 led by Sen. Frank Church[30] revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain’s SIGINT intelligence agencyGovernment Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. Benjamin Spock.[31] Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of FBI, CIA and NSA facilities.[32] Senator Frank Churchuncovered previously unknown activity,[32] such as a CIA plot (ordered by the administration of President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro.[33] The investigation also uncovered NSA’s wiretaps on targeted American citizens.[34]

After the Church Committee hearings, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was passed into law. This was designed to limit the practice of mass surveillance in the United States.[32]

From 1980s to 1990s

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.[35][36]

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’.[37] That year, the NSA founded the NSA Hall of Honor, a memorial at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland.[38] The memorial is a, “tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to American cryptology”.[38] NSA employees must be retired for more than fifteen years to qualify for the memorial.[38]

War on Terror

After Osama bin Laden moved to Afghanistan in the 1980s, the NSA recorded all of his phone calls via satellite, logging over 2,000 minutes of conversation[39]

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.[40]

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 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) 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.[41][42]

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.[42] It was to be a realization of information processing at higher speeds in cyberspace.[43]

Global surveillance disclosures

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.Main article: Global surveillance disclosures (2013-present)

Scope of surveillance

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[44] and “commercial secrets”.[45] 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.[46][47][48] Eleven percent of these monitored phone lines met the agency’s legal standard for “reasonably articulable suspicion”(RAS).[46][49]

A dedicated unit of the NSA locates targets for the CIA for extrajudicial assassination in the Middle East.[50] 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.[51][52]

The NSA tracks the locations of hundreds of millions of cellphones per day, allowing them to map people’s movements and relationships in detail.[53] It reportedly has access to all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk,[54] and collects hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts each year.[55] 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.[56][57]

Domestically, the NSA collects and stores metadata records of phone calls,[58] including over 120 million US Verizon subscribers[59] as well as internet communications,[54] 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.[60] 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.[61]

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.[62]

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.[63]

Legal accountability

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.[64] 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;[65] 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.[66] 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;[67] and that NSA officers have even used data intercepts to spy on love interests.[68] The NSA has “generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information” by illegally sharing its intercepts with other law enforcement agencies.[69] 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.”[70][71] 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”.[69] 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.[55]

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.”[72]

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.[73]

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.[74]

Official responses

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.[75] 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”.[65]

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”.[76] 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.[77][78][79]

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.[80][81] The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[82][83] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[84]

Organizational structure

Keith B. Alexander, the former director of the National Security Agency

The NSA is led by the Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA), who also serves as Chief of the Central Security Service (CHCSS) and Commander of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and is the highest-ranking military official of these organizations. He is assisted by a Deputy Director, who is the highest-ranking civilian within the NSA/CSS.

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).[85]

Unlike other intelligence organizations such as CIA or DIA, NSA has always been particularly reticent concerning its internal organizational structure.

As of the mid-1990s, the National Security Agency was organized into five Directorates:

  • 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.[86]

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.[87][88]


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 byEdward Snowden since June 2013.

The main elements of the organizational structure of the NSA are:[89]

  • 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 buggingcomputers throughout the world, using the expertise of both agencies.[90]
  • G – Directorate only known from unit G112, the office that manages the Senior Span platform, attached to the U2 spy planes.[91]
  • 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).
  • J – Directorate only known from unit J2, the Cryptologic Intelligence Unit
  • L – Installation and Logistics
  • M – Human Resources
  • Q – Security and Counterintelligence
  • R – Research Directorate, which conducts research on signals intelligence and on information assurance for the U.S. Government.[92]
  • 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.”[93]
      • S33 – Global Access Operations (GAO), which is responsible for intercepts from satellites and other international SIGINT platforms.[94] 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.[94] Special Source Operations is also mentioned in connection to the FAIRVIEW collection program.[95]
  • 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

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.[96]

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.[97]

There’s also an office of Information Sharing Services (ISS), led by a chief and a deputy chief.[98]

Watch centers

The NSA maintains at least two watch centers:

  • 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.[99]
  • 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.[100]


The number of NSA employees is officially classified[4] 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.[101]

In 2012, the NSA said more than 30,000 employees worked at Ft. Meade and other facilities.[2] 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,[4] and stated that the agency is “probably the biggest employer of introverts.”[4] In 2013 Der Spiegel stated that the NSA had 40,000 employees.[5] More widely, it has been described as the world’s largest single employer of mathematicians.[102] Some NSA employees form part of the workforce of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency that provides the NSA with satellite signals intelligence.

As of 2013 about 1,000 system administrators work for the NSA.[103]

Security issues

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.[104] 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.

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.[104]

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.[103] Snowden claims he suggested such a rule in 2009.[105]


Defense Security Service(DSS) polygraph brochure given to NSA applicants

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.[106] As part of the latter, historically EPQs or “embarrassing personal questions” about sexual behavior had been included in the NSA polygraph.[106] 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.[107]


NSA-produced video on the polygraph process

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.[107] NSA’s brochure states that the average test length is between two and four hours.[108] 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.”[109] 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.[106]

In 2010 the NSA produced a video explaining its polygraph process.[110] The video, ten minutes long, is titled “The Truth About the Polygraph” and was posted to the website of the Defense Security Service. Jeff Stein of The Washington Post said that the video portrays “various applicants, or actors playing them — it’s not clear — describing everything bad they had heard about the test, the implication being that none of it is true.”[111] AntiPolygraph.org argues that the NSA-produced video omits some information about the polygraph process; it produced a video responding to the NSA video.[110] George Maschke, the founder of the website, accused the NSA polygraph video of being “Orwellian“.[111]

After Edward Snowden revealed his identity in 2013, the NSA began requiring polygraphing of employees once per quarter.[112]

Arbitrary firing

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.[104]

Insignia and memorials

The heraldic insignia of NSA consists of an eagle inside a circle, grasping a key in its talons.[113] The eagle represents the agency’s national mission.[113] Its breast features a shield with bands of red and white, taken from the Great Seal of the United States and representing Congress.[113] The key is taken from the emblem of Saint Peter and represents security.[113]

When the NSA was created, the agency had no emblem and used that of the Department of Defense.[114] The agency adopted its first of two emblems in 1963.[114] 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.[115]

The NSA’s flag consists of the agency’s seal on a light blue background.

Crews associated with NSA missions have been involved in a number of dangerous and deadly situations.[116] The USS Liberty incident in 1967 andUSS Pueblo incident in 1968 are examples of the losses endured during the Cold War.[116]

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service Cryptologic Memorial honors and remembers the fallen personnel, both military and civilian, of these intelligence missions.[117] It is made of black granite, and has 171 names (as of 2013) carved into it.[117] It is located at NSA headquarters. A tradition of declassifying the stories of the fallen was begun in 2001.[117]



National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, 2013

Headquarters for the National Security Agency is located at 39°6′32″N 76°46′17″W in Fort George G. Meade, 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,[118] and 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Washington, DC.[119] The NSA has its own exit off Maryland Route 295 South labeled “NSA Employees Only”.[120][121] The exit may only be used by people with the proper clearances, and security vehicles parked along the road guard the entrance.[122]

NSA is the largest employer in the U.S. state of Maryland, and two-thirds of its personnel work at Ft. Meade.[123] Built on 350 acres (140 ha; 0.55 sq mi)[124] of Ft. Meade’s 5,000 acres (2,000 ha; 7.8 sq mi),[125] the site has 1,300 buildings and an estimated 18,000 parking spaces.[119][126]

NSA headquarters building in Fort Meade (left), NSOC (right)

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.”[127] 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.[127] 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.”[127]

The facility has over 100 watchposts,[128] one of them being the visitor control center, a two-story area that serves as the entrance.[127] At the entrance, a white pentagonal structure,[129] visitor badges are issued to visitors and security clearances of employees are checked.[130] The visitor center includes a painting of the NSA seal.[129]

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“.[131] 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.[129] NSA headquarters has its own post office, fire department, and police force.[132][133][134]

The employees at the NSA headquarters reside in various places in the Baltimore-Washington area, including Annapolis, Baltimore, and Columbia in Maryland and the District of Columbia, including the Georgetown community.[135]

Power consumption

Due to massive amounts of data processing, NSA is the largest electricity consumer in Maryland.[123]

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.”[136]

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.[137] In 2011, NSA at Ft. Meade was Maryland’s largest consumer of power.[123] In 2007, as BGE’s largest customer, NSA bought as much electricity as Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland.[136]

One estimate put the potential for power consumption by the new Utah Data Center at $40 million per year.[138]

History of headquarters

Headquarters at Fort Meade circa 1950s

When the agency was established, its headquarters and cryptographic center were in the Naval Security Station in Washington, D.C.. The COMINT functions were located in Arlington Hall in Northern Virginia, which served as the headquarters of the U.S. Army‘s cryptographic operations.[139]Because the Soviet Union had detonated a nuclear bomb and because the facilities were crowded, the federal government wanted to move several agencies, including the AFSA/NSA. A planning committee considered Fort Knox, but 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.[140]

Construction of additional buildings began after the agency occupied buildings at Ft. Meade in the late 1950s, which they soon outgrew.[140] 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.[141] COMSEC remained in Washington, D.C., until its new building was completed in 1968.[140] In September 1986, the Operations 2A and 2B buildings, both copper-shielded to prevent eavesdropping, opened with a dedication by President Ronald Reagan.[142] The four NSA buildings became known as the “Big Four.”[142] The NSA director moved to 2B when it opened.[142]


In 1995, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA is the owner of the single largest group of supercomputers.[143]

NSA held a groundbreaking ceremony at Ft. Meade in May 2013 for its High Performance Computing Center 2, expected to open in 2016.[144] Called Site M, the center has a 150 megawatt power substation, 14 administrative buildings and 10 parking garages.[132] It cost $3.2 billion and covers 227 acres (92 ha; 0.355 sq mi).[132] The center is 1,800,000 square feet (17 ha; 0.065 sq mi)[132] and initially uses 60 megawatts of electricity.[145]

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.[132] Defense contractors are also establishing or expanding cybersecurity facilities near the NSA and around the Washington metropolitan area.[132]

Other U.S. facilities

Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado

Utah Data Center

As of 2012, NSA collected intelligence from four geostationary satellites.[138] Satellite receivers were at Roaring Creek Station in Catawissa, Pennsylvania and Salt Creek Station in Arbuckle, California.[138] 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.[138]

NSA had facilities at Friendship Annex (FANX) in Linthicum, Maryland, which is a 20 to 25-minute drive from Ft. Meade;[146] the Aerospace Data Facility at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora outside Denver, Colorado; NSA Texas in the Texas Cryptology Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; NSA Georgia at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia; NSA Hawaii in Honolulu; the Multiprogram Research Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and elsewhere.[135][138]

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.[147] It is expected to be operational by September 2013.[138]

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,[148] the latter expansion expected to be completed by 2015.[149]

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.[150] In 2004, NSA closed its operations at Bad Aibling Station (Field Station 81) in Bad Aibling, Germany.[151] 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.[152]As of 2013, NSA also intended to close operations at Sugar Grove, West Virginia.[150]

RAF Menwith Hill has the largest NSA presence in the United Kingdom.[149]

International stations

Following the signing in 1946–1956[153] of the UKUSA Agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who then cooperated on signals intelligence and Echelon,[154] 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,[155] New Zealand.[156]

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.[157] Planned in 1954, and opened in 1960, the base covered 562 acres (227 ha; 0.878 sq mi) in 1999.[158]

The agency’s European Cryptologic Center (ECC), with 240 employees in 2011, is headquartered at a US military compound in Griesheim, nearFrankfurt 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.[159]

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 inWiesbaden, Germany.[160] NSA’s partnership with Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German foreign intelligence service, was confirmed by BND president Gerhard Schindler.[160]



NSA’s eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organizations and individuals, the Internet, telephone calls, and other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications.[161]

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.”[162]

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 andciphers (see, for instance, Purple, Venona project, and JN-25).

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.[163]

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.[9]


Main article: ECHELON

Echelon was created in the incubator of the Cold War.[164] Today it is a legacy system, and several NSA stations are closing.[150]

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,[165] 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.[166]

During the early 1970s, the first of what became more than eight large satellite communications dishes were installed at Menwith Hill.[167] 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.[168] 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”.[169]

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.[170][171]

Data mining

Protesters against NSA data mining in Berlin wearing Bradley Manning andEdward Snowden masks.

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.[172] 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.[173] 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.[174]

The NSA began the PRISM electronic surveillance and data mining program in 2007.[175][176] PRISM gathers communications data on foreign targets from nine major U.S. internet-based communication service providers: Microsoft,[177] Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube andApple. 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.[178]


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 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the International Organization for Standardization (aka ISO).[179] This memo appears to give credence to previous speculation by cryptographers at Microsoft Research.[180] Edward Snowden claims that the NSA often bypasses encryption altogether by lifting information before it is encrypted or after it is decrypted.[179]

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.[181][182]

Domestic activity

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.[citation needed]

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.”[183] 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.[184] 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.[184]

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.[citation needed]

George W. Bush administration

Warrantless wiretaps

On December 16, 2005, The New York Times reported that, under White House pressure and with an executive order from President George W. Bush, the National Security Agency, in an attempt to thwart terrorism, had been tapping phone calls made to persons outside the country, without obtaining warrants from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret court created for that purpose under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[185]

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.[186]

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.[187]

On January 17, 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit, CCR v. Bush, against the George W. Bush Presidency. The lawsuit challenged the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) surveillance of people within the U.S., including the interception of CCR emails without securing a warrant first.[188][189]

In September 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class action lawsuit against the NSA and several high-ranking officials of the Bush administration,[190] charging an “illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet communications surveillance,”[191] based on documentation provided by former AT&T technician Mark Klein.[192]

AT&T Internet monitoring

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.[193]

Data mining

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.[194]

A 2013 advisory group for the Obama administration, seeking to reform NSA spying programs following the revelations of documents released by Edward J. Snowden.[195] 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.[196]

Illegally obtained evidence

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.[197][198]

Domestic surveillance under Barack Obama

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.[199] United States Attorney General Eric Holderresumed the program according to his understanding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendment of 2008, without explaining what had occurred.[200]

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.[201][202]

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.[203]

In order to support its facial recognition program, the NSA is intercepting “millions of images per day”.[204]


Polls conducted in June 2013 found divided results among Americans regarding NSA’s secret data collection.[205] Rasmussen Reports found that 59% of Americans disapprove,[206] Gallupfound that 53% disapprove,[207] and Pew found that 56% are in favor of NSA data collection.[208]

Terrorist Attacks prevented by Domestic Surveillance

2009 New York City Subway bomb plot

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.[209][210]

International activity

Telecommunication records

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.[211]

Software backdoors

Linux kernel

Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux kernel, joked during a LinuxCon keynote on 18 September 2013 that the NSA, who are the founder of SELinux, wanted a backdoor in the kernel.[212]However later, Linus’ father, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), revealed that the NSA actually did this.[213]

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.

Nils TorvaldsLIBE Committee Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens – 11th Hearing, 11 November 2013[214]

Microsoft Windows

Main article: _NSAKEY

_NSAKEY was a variable name discovered in Microsoft‘s Windows NT 4 Service Pack 5 (which had been released unstripped of its symbolic debugging data) in August 1999 by Andrew D. Fernandes of Cryptonym Corporation. That variable contained a 1024-bit public key.

IBM Notes

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.[215][216]

Boomerang routing

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.[16] 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.[16]

Hardware implanting

Intercepted packages are opened carefully by NSA employees
A “load station” implanting a beacon

A document included in NSA files released with Glenn Greenwald’s book No Place to Hide details how the agency’sTailored Access Operations (TAO) and other NSA units gain access to hardware. They intercept routers, servers and other network hardware being shipped to organizations targeted for surveillance and install covert implant firmware onto them before they are delivered. This was described by an NSA manager as “some of the most productive operations in TAO because they preposition access points into hard target networks around the world.”[217]

Role in scientific research and development

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.

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.[218]

Data Encryption Standard

FROSTBURG was the NSA’s first supercomputer, used from 1991-97

NSA was embroiled in some minor controversy concerning its involvement in the creation of the Data Encryption Standard (DES), a standard and publicblock 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.

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.[219][220] 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.”[221]

Advanced Encryption Standard

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).[222] NSA has subsequently certified AES for protection of classified information (for at most two levels, e.g. SECRET information in an unclassified environment[clarification needed]) when used in NSA-approved systems.[223]

NSA encryption systems

The NSA is responsible for the encryption-related components in these legacy systems:

  • FNBDT Future Narrow Band Digital Terminal[224]
  • KL-7 ADONIS off-line rotor encryption machine (post-WWII – 1980s)[225][226]
  • KW-26 ROMULUS electronic in-line teletypewriter encryptor (1960s–1980s)[227]
  • KW-37 JASON fleet broadcast encryptor (1960s–1990s)[226]

STU-III secure telephones on display at the National Cryptologic Museum

The NSA oversees encyption in following systems which are in use today:

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 NISTand 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.[223]


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.[233]

A new hash standard, SHA-3, has recently been selected through the competition concluded October 2, 2012 with the selection of Keccak as the algorithm. The process to select SHA-3 was similar to the one held in choosing the AES, but some doubts have been cast over it,[234][235] since fundamental modifications have been made to Keccak in order to turn it into a standard.[236] These changes potentially undermine the cryptanalysis performed during the competition and reduce the security levels of the algorithm.[234]

Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator

Main article: Dual_EC_DRBG

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 abackdoor which would allow NSA access to data encrypted by systems using that pseudo random number generator.[237]

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.[238][239] Both NIST and RSA are now officially recommending against the use of this PRNG.[240][241]

Clipper chip

Main article: Clipper chip

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.[242] The proposal was strongly opposed and key escrow requirements ultimately went nowhere.[243] 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.[244][245]

Perfect Citizen

Main article: Perfect Citizen

Perfect Citizen is a program to perform vulnerability assessment by the NSA on U.S. critical infrastructure.[246][247] 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.[248][249] It is funded by theComprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative and thus far Raytheon has received a contract for up to $100 million for the initial stage.

Academic research

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,[250] ” written and compiled by NSA employees to assist other NSA workers in searching for information of interest to the agency on the public Internet.[251]


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.[252]

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.[253] 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.[254]

NSANet (NSA’s Intranet)

Behind the Green Door – Secure communications room with separate computer terminals for access toSIPRNET, GWAN, NSANET, andJWICS

NSANet stands for National Security Agency Network and is the official NSA intranet.[255] It is a classified network,[256] for information up to the level ofTS/SCI[257] 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).[258]

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.[259]

In 1998, NSANet, along with NIPRNET and SIPRNET, had “significant problems with poor search capabilities, unorganized data and old information”.[260] In 2004, the network was reported to have used over twenty commercial off-the-shelf operating systems.[261] Some universities that do highly sensitive research are allowed to connect to it.[262]

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.[263]

National Computer Security Center

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.[264] NCSC was part of NSA,[265] and during the late 1980s and the 1990s, NSA and NCSC published Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria in a six-foot highRainbow Series of books that detailed trusted computing and network platform specifications.[266] The Rainbow books were replaced by the Common Criteria, however, in the early 2000s.[266]

On July 18, 2013, Greenwald said that Snowden held “detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do”, thereby sparking fresh controversy.[267]

See also



  1. Jump up^ Thomas L. Burns, The Origins of the National Security Agency, p. 97
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b “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.”
  3. Jump up^ Priest, Dana (July 21, 2013). “NSA growth fueled by need to target terrorists”. The Washington Post. Retrieved July 22, 2013. “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.”
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Introverted? Then NSA wants you.FCW. April 2012. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b “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?”
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b 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. RetrievedAugust 29, 2013.
  7. Jump up^ Shane, Scott (August 29, 2013). “New Leaked Document Outlines U.S. Spending On Intelligence Agencies”. The New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
  8. Jump up^ “About NSA: Mission”. National Security Agency. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b Ellen Nakashima (January 26, 2008). “Bush Order Expands Network Monitoring: Intelligence Agencies to Track Intrusions”. The Washington Post. Retrieved February 9, 2008.
  10. Jump up^ Executive Order 13470[1] 2008 Amendments to Executive Order 12333], United States Intelligence Activities, July 30, 2008 (PDF)
  11. Jump up^ Malkin, Bonnie. NSA surveillance: US bugged EU offices. The Daily Telegraph, June 30, 2013
  12. Jump up^ Ngak, Chenda. NSA leaker Snowden claimed U.S. and Israel co-wrote Stuxnet virus, CBS, July 9, 2013
  13. Jump up^ Bamford, James. The Secret War, Wired Magazine, June 12, 2013.
  14. Jump up^ Bamford, James. Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency,Random House Digital, Inc., December 18, 2007
  15. Jump up^ Executive Order 134702008 Amendments to Executive Order 12333, United States Intelligence Activities, Section C.2, July 30, 2008
  16. ^ Jump up to:a b c 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.
  17. Jump up^ “The National Archives, Records of the National Security Agency”. Retrieved November 22,2013.
  18. Jump up^ “The Many Lives of Herbert O. Yardley”. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  19. ^ Jump up to:a b Hastedt, Glenn P.; Guerrier, Steven W. (2009). Spies, wiretaps, and secret operations: An encyclopedia of American espionage. ABC-CLIO. p. 32. ISBN 1851098070.
  20. Jump up^ Yardley, Herbert O. (1931). The American black chamber. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press.ISBN 1591149894.
  21. Jump up^ James Bamford. “Building America’s secret surveillance state”. Reuters. RetrievedNovember 9, 2013.
  22. Jump up^ “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.
  23. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Army Security Agency Established, 15 September 1945”. United States Army. RetrievedNovember 9, 2013.
  24. ^ Jump up to:a b c Burns, Thomas L. “The Origins of the National Security Agency 1940–1952 (U)” (PDF). National Security Agency. p. 60. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  25. Jump up^ “The Creation of NSA – Part 2 of 3: The Brownell Committee” (PDF). National Security Agency. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  26. ^ Jump up to:a b Truman, Harry S. (October 24, 1952). “Memorandum” (PDF). National Security Agency. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  27. Jump up^ Anne Gearan (June 7, 2013). “‘No Such Agency’ spies on the communications of the world”.The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  28. Jump up^ SCOTT SHANE (October 31, 2005). “Vietnam Study, Casting Doubts, Remains Secret”. The New York Times. The National Security Agency has kept secret since 2001 a finding by an agency historian that during the Tonkin Gulf episode, which helped precipitate the Vietnam War
  29. ^ Jump up to:a b “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
  30. Jump up^ Pre-Emption – The Nsa And The Telecoms | Spying On The Home Front | FRONTLINE | PBS
  31. Jump up^ Cohen, Martin. No Holiday: 80 Places You Don’t Want to Visit. New York: Disinformation Company Ltd. ISBN 978-1-932857-29-0. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  32. ^ Jump up to:a b c Bill Moyers Journal (October 26, 2007). “The Church Committee and FISA”. Public Affairs Television. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  33. Jump up^ “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.
  34. Jump up^ “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.
  35. Jump up^ Seymour M. Hersh (February 22, 1987). “TARGET QADDAFI”. The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  36. Jump up^ David Wise (May 18, 1986). “Espionage Case Pits CIA Against News Media”. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2014. the President took an unprecedented step in discussing the content of the Libyan cables. He was, by implication, revealing that NSA had broken the Libyan code.
  37. Jump up^ Peggy Becker (October 1999). DEVELOPMENT OF SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY AND RISK OF ABUSE OF ECONOMIC INFORMATION (Report). STOA, European Parliament. p. 12. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  38. ^ Jump up to:a b c Staff (June 13, 2003). “NSA honors 4 in the science of codes”. The Baltimore Sun(Tribune Company). Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  39. Jump up^ 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.
  40. Jump up^ Gorman, Siobhan (May 17, 2006). “NSA killed system that sifted phone data legally”.Baltimore Sun (Tribune Company (Chicago, IL)). Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved March 7, 2008. The privacy protections offered by ThinThread were also abandoned in the post–September 11 push by the president for a faster response to terrorism.
  41. Jump up^ See refs of Thomas Andrews Drake article
  42. ^ Jump up to:a b Bamford, Shadow Factory, pp. 325–340.
  43. Jump up^ <http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation-world/bal-nsa050607,0,1517618.story>
  44. Jump up^ Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark. “Ally and Target: US Intelligence Watches Germany Closely”. Der Spiegel. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  45. Jump up^ DeYoung, Karen (August 12, 2013). “Colombia asks Kerry to explain NSA spying”. The Washington Post. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  46. ^ Jump up to:a b 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.
  47. Jump up^ Greenberg, Andy. “NSA Secretly Admitted Illegally Tracking Thousands Of ‘Alert List’ Phone Numbers For Years”. Forbes. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  48. Jump up^ Brandon, Russel. “NSA illegally searched 15,000 suspects’ phone records, according to declassified report”. The Verge. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  49. Jump up^ 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.
  50. Jump up^ 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.
  51. Jump up^ 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.
  52. Jump up^ US-Geheimdienst hörte Zentrale der Vereinten Nationen ab“. Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  53. Jump up^ Barton Gellman and Ashton Solanti, December 5, 2013, “NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, Snowden documents show”, The Washington Post. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  54. ^ Jump up to:a b 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.
  55. ^ Jump up to:a b Gellman and Soltani, October 15, 2013 “NSA collects millions of e-mail address books globally“, The Washington Post. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  56. Jump up^ 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.
  57. Jump up^ Arthur, Charles “Academics criticise NSA and GCHQ for weakening online encryption“, The Guardian September 16, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  58. Jump up^ “Senators: Limit NSA snooping into US phone records”. Associated Press. RetrievedOctober 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.
  59. Jump up^ Glenn Greenwald (6 June 2013). “NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily“. The Guardian. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  60. Jump up^ Court Reveals ‘Secret Interpretation’ Of The Patriot Act, Allowing NSA To Collect All Phone Call Data, September 17, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  61. Jump up^ “Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans”. Reuters. August 5, 2013. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
  62. Jump up^ 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.
  63. Jump up^ “Vast majority of NSA spy targets are mistakenly monitored”. Philadelphia News.Net. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  64. Jump up^ Greenwald, Glen, “Members of Congress denied access to basic information about NSA“,The Guardian, August 4, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  65. ^ Jump up to:a b Eddlem, T. The NSA Domestic Surveillance Lie, September 22, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  66. Jump up^ Loennig, C., “Court: Ability to police U.S. spying program limited“, Washington Post, August 16, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  67. Jump up^ Gellman, B. NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds, Washington Post, August 15, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  68. Jump up^ Gorman, S. NSA Officers Spy on Love Interests, Wall St Journal, August 23, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  69. ^ Jump up to:a b Spencer Ackerman, November 19, 2013, “Fisa court documents reveal extent of NSA disregard for privacy restrictions“, The Guardian. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  70. Jump up^ John D Bates (3 October 2011). “[redacted] “. p. 16.
  71. Jump up^ 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.
  72. Jump up^ 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.
  73. Jump up^ Bazzle, Steph (27 December 2013). “Judge Says NSA’s Data Collection Is Legal”. Indyposted. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  74. Jump up^ Greenwald, Glenn (16 October 2014). “UN Report Finds Mass Surveillance Violates International Treaties and Privacy Rights”. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  75. Jump up^ Kessler, Glen, James Clapper’s ‘least untruthful’ statement to the Senate, June 12, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  76. Jump up^ Kube, C., June 27, 2013, “NSA chief says surveillance programs helped foil 54 plots”, US News on nbcnews.com. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  77. Jump up^ “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.
  78. Jump up^ “Indictment: USA vs Basaaly Saeed Moalin, Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud and Issa Doreh”. Southern District of California July 2010 Grand Jury. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
  79. Jump up^ “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.
  80. Jump up^ “Senate caves, votes to give telecoms retroactive immunity”. Ars Technica. 13 February 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  81. Jump up^ “Forget Retroactive Immunity, FISA Bill is also about Prospective Immunity”. The Progressive. 10 July 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  82. Jump up^ “Restricted Web access to the Guardian is Armywide, say officials”, Philipp Molnar, Monterey Herald, June 27, 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  83. Jump up^ 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.
  84. Jump up^ Ackerman, Spencer (July 1, 2013). “US military blocks entire Guardian website for troops stationed abroad”. The Guardian.
  85. Jump up^ These offices are for example mentioned in a FISA court order from 2011.
  86. Jump up^ “National Security Agency”. fas.org. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  87. Jump up^ Matthew M. Aid, The Secret Sentry, New York, 2009, p. 130, 138, 156-158.
  88. Jump up^ See also the information about the historical structure of NSA that is archived at FAS.org
  89. Jump up^ TheWeek.com: The NSA’s secret org chart, September 15, 2013
  90. Jump up^ D.B. Grady. “Inside the secret world of America’s top eavesdropping spies”.
  91. Jump up^ Marc Ambinder, Solving the mystery of PRISM, June 7, 2013
  92. Jump up^ National Intelligence – a consumer’s guide (PDF) 2009, p. 34.
  93. Jump up^ Aid, Matthew M. (10 June 2013). “Inside the NSA’s Ultra-Secret China Hacking Group”.Foreign Policy. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  94. ^ Jump up to:a b Marc Ambinder, How a single IT tech could spy on the world, June 10, 2013
  95. Jump up^ The Special Source Operations logo can be seen on slides about the FAIRVIEW program.
  96. Jump up^ National Security Agency – 60 Years of Defending Our Nation, Anniversary booklet, 2012, p. 96.
  97. Jump up^ Marc Ambinder, 3008 Selectors, June 27, 2013.
  98. Jump up^ This is mentioned in a FISA court order from 2011.
  99. Jump up^ Top Level Telecommunications: Pictures at the NSA’s 60th anniversary
  100. Jump up^ National Security Agency – 60 Years of Defending Our Nation, Anniversary booklet, 2012, p. 102.
  101. Jump up^ Matthew M. Aid, The Secret Sentry, New York, 2009, pp. 128, 148, 190 and 198.
  102. Jump up^ Harvey A. Davis (March 12, 2002). Statement for the Record (Speech). 342 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. Retrieved November 24, 2009.
  103. ^ Jump up to:a b Drew, Christopher and Somini Sengupta (June 24, 2013). “N.S.A. Leak Puts Focus on System Administrators”. The New York Times. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  104. ^ Jump up to:a b c David Kahn, The Codebreakers, Scribner Press, 1967, chapter 19, pp. 672–733.
  105. Jump up^ Barton Gellman (December 25, 2013). “Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished”. The Washington Post.
  106. ^ Jump up to:a b c Bauer, Craig P. (2013). Secret History: The Story of Cryptology. CRC Press. p. 359.ISBN 9781466561861.
  107. ^ Jump up to:a b Bamford. Body of Secrets. p. 538.
  108. Jump up^ “Your Polygraph Examination: An Important Appointment to Keep” (PDF). National Security Agency. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  109. Jump up^ McCarthy, Susan. “The truth about the polygraph”. Salon. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  110. ^ Jump up to:a b Nagesh, Gautham (June 14, 2010). “NSA video tries to dispel fear about polygraph use during job interviews”. The Hill. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  111. ^ Jump up to:a b Stein, Jeff. “NSA lie detectors no sweat, video says.” Washington Post. June 14, 2010. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  112. Jump up^ 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.”
  113. ^ Jump up to:a b c d “Frequently Asked Questions About NSA: 9. Can you explain the NSA and CSS seals?”. National Security Agency. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  114. ^ Jump up to:a b “History of The Insignia”. National Security Agency. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  115. Jump up^ “The National Security Agency Insignia”. National Security Agency via Internet Archive. Archived from the original on 2008-04-13. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  116. ^ Jump up to:a b “A Dangerous Business: The U.S. Navy and National Reconnaissance During the Cold War” (PDF). National Security Agency. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  117. ^ Jump up to:a b c “National Cryptologic Memorial (List of Names) – NSA/CSS”. NSA.gov. RetrievedJune 13, 2013.
  118. Jump up^ “Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion: Intelligence Department: Fort Meade, MD: New Joins”. United States Marine Corps. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  119. ^ Jump up to:a b “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?”. The Sunday Times. June 9, 2013. Retrieved June 11, 2013.(subscription required)
  120. Jump up^ 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.”
  121. Jump up^ 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.”
  122. Jump up^ 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.
  123. ^ Jump up to:a b c 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.
  124. Jump up^ Gorman, Siobhan (August 6, 2006). “NSA risking electrical overload”. The Baltimore Sun(Tribune Company). Retrieved June 10, 2013.
  125. Jump up^ Dozier, Kimberly (June 9, 2013). “NSA claims know-how to ensure no illegal spying”.Associated Press. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  126. Jump up^ “Geeks ‘R’ us”. The Baltimore Sun. Tribune Company. January 13, 2010. Retrieved June 11,2013.
  127. ^ Jump up to:a b c d 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[…]”
  128. Jump up^ 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.”
  129. ^ Jump up to:a b c 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[…]”
  130. Jump up^ 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.”
  131. Jump up^ 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.”
  132. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f Bamford, James (June 12, 2013). “The Secret War”. Wired (Condé Nast). RetrievedJune 12, 2013.
  133. Jump up^ “Career Fields/Other Opportunities/NSA Police Officers section of the NSA website”. Nsa.gov. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  134. Jump up^ 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.
  135. ^ Jump up to:a b 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.”
  136. ^ Jump up to:a b 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….” inGorman, 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.
  137. Jump up^ “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.
  138. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f 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.
  139. Jump up^ “60 Years of Defending Our Nation” (PDF). National Security Agency. 2012. p. 15. RetrievedJuly 6, 2013.
  140. ^ Jump up to:a b c “60 Years of Defending Our Nation” (PDF). National Security Agency. 2012. p. 10. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  141. Jump up^ “60 Years of Defending Our Nation” (PDF). National Security Agency. 2012. p. 23. RetrievedJuly 6, 2013.
  142. ^ Jump up to:a b c “60 Years of Defending Our Nation” (PDF). National Security Agency. 2012. p. 39. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  143. Jump up^ Scott Shane and Tom Bowman (December 4, 1995). “No Such Agency Part Four – Rigging the Game”. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
  144. Jump up^ Brown, Matthew Hay (May 6, 2013). “NSA plans new computing center for cyber threats”. The Baltimore Sun (Tribune Company). Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  145. Jump up^ “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.
  146. Jump up^ “Fort Meade”. Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center, United States Navy. RetrievedJune 11, 2013.
  147. Jump up^ Steve Fidel (January 6, 2011). “Utah’s billion cyber-security center under way”. Deseret News. Retrieved January 6, 2011.
  148. Jump up^ LaPlante, Matthew D. (July 2, 2009). “New NSA center unveiled in budget documents”. The Salt Lake Tribune (MediaNews Group). Retrieved June 9, 2013.
  149. ^ Jump up to:a b Norton-Taylor, Richard (March 1, 2012). “Menwith Hill eavesdropping base undergoes massive expansion”. The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved June 10,2013.
  150. ^ Jump up to:a b c “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.
  151. Jump up^ Richelson, Jeffrey T. (August 2012). “Eavesdroppers in Disguise”. Air Force Magazine (Air Force Association). Retrieved June 10, 2013.
  152. Jump up^ Troianello, Craig (April 4, 2013). “NSA to close Yakima Training Center facility”. Yakima Herald-Republic. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  153. Jump up^ “UKUSA Agreement Release: 1940-1956”. National Security Agency. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  154. Jump up^ Bamford, James (September 13, 2002). “What big ears you have”. The Guardian (London). Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  155. Jump up^ Tangimoana listed in: “Government Communications Security Bureau [GCSB]”. Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  156. Jump up^ “ECHELON Main Stations”. World-Information.org. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  157. Jump up^ “UK agrees missile defence request”. BBC News. July 25, 2007. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
  158. Jump up^ Campbell, Duncan (December 6, 1999). “1980 – America’s big ear on Europe”. New Statesman. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  159. Jump up^ Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark, Ally and Target: US Intelligence Watches Germany Closely, August 12, 2013.
  160. ^ Jump up to:a b “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.
  161. Jump up^ Bamford, James (December 25, 2005). “The Agency That Could Be Big Brother”. The New York Times. Retrieved September 11, 2005.
  162. Jump up^ Priest, Dana and Arkin, William, A hidden world, growing beyond control, Washington Post
  163. Jump up^ “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.
  164. Jump up^ Hager 1996, p. 55
  165. Jump up^ Richelson, Jeffrey T.; Ball, Desmond (1985). The Ties That Bind: Intelligence Cooperation Between the UKUSA Countries. London: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-04-327092-1
  166. Jump up^ Patrick S. Poole, Echelon: America’s Secret Global Surveillance Network (Washington, D.C.:Free Congress Foundation, October 1998)
  167. Jump up^ Echelon”, 60 Minutes, February 27, 2000
  168. Jump up^ Campbell, Duncan (August 12, 1988). “They’ve Got It Taped” (PDF). New Statesman via duncancampbell.org. Retrieved June 19, 2007
  169. Jump up^ Bomford, Andrew (November 3, 1999). “Echelon spy network revealed”. BBC. RetrievedJune 7, 2013.
  170. Jump up^ “European Parliament Report on Echelon” (PDF). July 2001. Retrieved July 4, 2008.
  171. Jump up^ “Nicky Hager Appearance before the European Parliament Echelon Committee”. Nicky Hager/ Cryptome Archive. April 2001. Retrieved July 4, 2008.
  172. Jump up^ Ellen Nakashima; Joby Warrick (July 14, 2013). “For NSA chief, terrorist threat drives passion to ‘collect it all,’ observers say”. The Washington Post. Retrieved July 15, 2013. Collect it all, tag it, store it. . . . And whatever it is you want, you go searching for it.
  173. Jump up^ Glenn Greenwald (July 15, 2013). “The crux of the NSA story in one phrase: ‘collect it all’: The actual story that matters is not hard to see: the NSA is attempting to collect, monitor and store all forms of human communication”. The Guardian (London). Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  174. Jump up^ Glenn Greenwald (November 26, 2013). “Top-Secret Documents Reveal NSA Spied on Porn Habits as Part of Plan to Discredit ‘Radicalizers'”. The Huffington Post (London). RetrievedMay 6, 2014.
  175. Jump up^ Gellman, Barton; Poitras, Laura (June 7, 2013). “U.S. intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program”. The Washington Post. Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  176. Jump up^ Greenwald, Glenn (June 6, 2013). “NSA taps in to internet giants’ systems to mine user data, secret files reveal”. The Guardian (London). Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  177. Jump up^ “Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages”. The Guardian. July 12, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2013.
  178. Jump up^ The Guardian, June 8, 2013 [title missing][page needed]
  179. ^ Jump up to:a b Perlroth, Nicole, Larson, Jeff, and Shane, Scott (September 5, 2013). “The NSA’s Secret Campaign to Crack, Undermine Internet Security”. ProPublica. This story has been reported in partnership between The New York Times, the Guardian and ProPublica based on documents obtained by The Guardian. For the Guardian: James Ball, Julian Borger, Glenn Greenwald; For the New York Times: Nicole Perlroth, Scott Shane; For ProPublica: Jeff Larson
  180. Jump up^ “Schneier on Security: The Strange Story of Dual_EC_DRBG”. Schneier.com. 2007-11-15. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  181. Jump up^ J. Appelbaum, A. Gibson, J. Goetz, V. Kabisch, L. Kampf, L. Ryge (3 July 2014). “NSA targets the privacy-conscious”. Panorama (Norddeutscher Rundfunk). Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  182. Jump up^ Lena Kampf, Jacob Appelbaum and John Goetz, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (July 3, 2014).“Deutsche im Visier des US-Geheimdienstes: Von der NSA als Extremist gebrandmarkt” (in German). ARD.
  183. Jump up^ John D Bates (3 October 2011). “[redacted]”. pp. 73–74.
  184. ^ Jump up to:a b David Alan Jordan. Decrypting the Fourth Amendment: Warrantless NSA Surveillance and the Enhanced Expectation of Privacy Provided by Encrypted Voice over Internet Protocol. Boston College Law Review. May 2006. Last access date January 23, 2007
  185. Jump up^ James Risen & Eric Lichtblau (December 16, 2005), Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts, New York Times
  186. Jump up^ “Gwu.edu”. Gwu.edu. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  187. Jump up^ “6th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision” (PDF). Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  188. Jump up^ Mike Rosen-Molina (May 19, 2007). “Ex-Guantanamo lawyers sue for recordings of client meetings”. The Jurist. Retrieved May 22, 2007.
  189. Jump up^ “CCR v. Bush”. Center for Constitutional Rights. Retrieved June 15, 2009.
  190. Jump up^ KJ Mullins (September 20, 2008). “Jewel Vs. NSA Aims To Stop Illegal Surveillance”. Digital Journal. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  191. Jump up^ Jewel v. NSA (complaint). 18 September 2008. Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  192. Jump up^ Kravets, David (15 July 2009). “Obama Claims Immunity, As New Spy Case Takes Center Stage”. Wired. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  193. Jump up^ “For Your Eyes Only?”. NOW. February 16, 2007. on PBS
  194. Jump up^ Gorman, Siobahn (March 10, 2008). “NSA’s Domestic Spying Grows As Agency Sweeps Up Data”. The Wall Street Journal Online. Archived from the original on 2009-01-24. RetrievedMarch 14, 2014.
  195. Jump up^ LIBERTY AND SECURITY IN A CHANGING WORLD – Report and Recommendations of The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, 12 December 2013, 308 pages
  196. Jump up^ Mark Hosenball; Will Dunham (11 April 2014). “White House, spy agencies deny NSA exploited ‘Heartbleed’ bug”. Reuters. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  197. Jump up^ John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke (August 5, 2013) Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans. Reuters. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  198. Jump up^ John Shiffman and David Ingram (August 7, 2013) Exclusive: IRS manual detailed DEA’s use of hidden intel evidence. Reuters. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  199. Jump up^ Lichtblau, Eric and Risen, James (April 15, 2009). “N.S.A.’s Intercepts Exceed Limits Set by Congress”. The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2009.
  200. Jump up^ Ackerman, Spencer (April 16, 2009). “NSA Revelations Spark Push to Restore FISA”. The Washington Independent (Center for Independent Media). Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  201. Jump up^ Glenn Greenwald (June 6, 2013). “Revealed: NSA collecting phone records of millions of Americans daily”. The Guardian (London). Retrieved June 6, 2013.
  202. Jump up^ Charlie Savage and Edward Wyatt, “U.S. Is Secretly Collecting Records of Verizon Calls”,New York Times, June 5, 2013. Accessed June 6, 2013.
  203. Jump up^ Savage, Charlie (August 8, 2013). “N.S.A. Said to Search Content of Messages to and From U.S”. The New York Times. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  204. Jump up^ James Risen and Laura Poitras (31 May 2014). “N.S.A. Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images”. The New York Times. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  205. Jump up^ “Statistics on whether the NSA’s Secret Data Collection is Acceptable”. Statista. RetrievedJuly 19, 2013.
  206. Jump up^ “59% Oppose Government’s Secret Collecting of Phone Records”. Rasmussen Reports. June 9, 2013. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  207. Jump up^ Newport, Frank (June 12, 2013). “Americans Disapprove of Government Surveillance Programs”. Gallup. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  208. Jump up^ “Majority Views NSA Phone Tracking as Acceptable Anti-terror Tactic”. Pew Research Center. June 10, 2013. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  209. Jump up^ Burnett, Sara (2 October 2011). “Coloradan Zazi’s coded e-mail started agencies plan to stop N.Y. subway attack”. The Denver Post. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
  210. Jump up^ Angwin, Julia (2014). Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance. Times Books / Henry Holt and Company. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-8050-9807-5.
  211. Jump up^ France in the NSA’s crosshair : phone networks under surveillance Le Monde 21 October 2013
  212. Jump up^ http://www.linuxfoundation.org/news-media/news/2013/09/techweekeurope-linus-torvalds-jokes-nsa-wanted-backdoor-linux
  213. Jump up^ http://falkvinge.net/2013/11/17/nsa-asked-linus-torvalds-to-install-backdoors-into-gnulinux/
  214. Jump up^ http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/libe/events.html
  215. Jump up^ “The Swedes discover Lotus Notes has key escrow!” The Risks Digest, Volume 19, Issue 52, 1997-12-24
  216. Jump up^ Only NSA can listen, so that’s OK Heise, 1999.
  217. Jump up^ Gallagher, Sean (2014-05-14). “Photos of an NSA “upgrade” factory show Cisco router getting implant”. Ars Technica.
  218. Jump up^ Sabar, Ariel (July 20, 2013). “Congress curbs NSA’s power to contract with suppliers”.Baltimore Sun (Tribune Company). Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  219. Jump up^ Davies, D.W.; W.L. Price (1989). Security for computer networks, 2nd ed. John Wiley & Sons.
  220. Jump up^ Robert Sugarman (editor) (July 1979). “On foiling computer crime”. IEEE Spectrum (IEEE).
  221. Jump up^ Thomas R. Johnson (December 18, 2009). “American Cryptology during the Cold War, 1945–1989.Book III: Retrenchment and Reform, 1972–1980, page 232”. NSA, DOCID 3417193 (file released on 2009-12-18, hosted at cryptome.org). Retrieved January 3, 2010.
  222. Jump up^ Weeks, Bryan et al. “Hardware Performance Simulations of Round 2 Advanced Encryption Standard Algorithms” (PDF). National Institute of Standards and Technology. RetrievedJune 29, 2013.
  223. ^ Jump up to:a b “the NIST standards that define Suite B…” in “Suite B Cryptography / Cryptographic Interoperability”. National Security Agency. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  224. Jump up^ Committee on C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups, National Research Council (2006). C4ISR for Future Naval Strike Groups. National Academies Press. p. 167. ISBN 0309096006.
  225. Jump up^ “Adkins Family asked for a pic of the KL-7. Here you go!…” in “NSA – National Cryptologic Museum”. Facebook. March 20, 2013. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  226. ^ Jump up to:a b “Cryptographic Damage Assessment: DOCID: 3997687” (PDF). National Security Agency. 1968. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  227. ^ Jump up to:a b c d “Cryptologic Excellence: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” (PDF). National Security Agency. 2002. p. 17. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  228. ^ Jump up to:a b Hickey, Kathleen (January 6, 2010). “NSA certifies Sectera Viper phone for classified communications”. GCN (1105 Media). Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  229. Jump up^ “JITC Networks, Transmissions, and Integration Division Electronic Key Management System (EKMS)”. U.S. Department of Defense: Defense Information Systems Agency: Joint Interoperability Certifier. February 1991. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  230. Jump up^ “6.2.6 What is Fortezza?”. RSA Laboratories, EMC Corporation. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  231. Jump up^ “AN/ARC-231 Airborne Communication System”. Raytheon. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  232. Jump up^ “NSA approves TACLANE-Router”. United Press International. October 24, 2007. RetrievedJune 30, 2013.
  233. Jump up^ Draft NIST SP 800-131, June 2010.
  234. ^ Jump up to:a b Lorenzo, Joseph (2013-09-24). “What the heck is going on with NIST’s cryptographic standard, SHA-3? | Center for Democracy & Technology”. Cdt.org. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  235. Jump up^ “Twitter / marshray: Believe it or not, NIST is”. Twitter.com. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  236. Jump up^ “kelsey-invited-ches-0820.pdf – Google Drive”. Docs.google.com. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  237. Jump up^ Schneier, Bruce (November 15, 2007). “Did NSA Put a Secret Backdoor in New Encryption Standard?”. Wired News. Retrieved July 4, 2008.
  238. Jump up^ Matthew Green (2013-09-18). “A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering: The Many Flaws of Dual_EC_DRBG”. Blog.cryptographyengineering.com. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  239. Jump up^ Dual_Ec_Drbg backdoor: a proof of concept at Aris’ Blog – Computers, ssh and rock’n roll
  240. Jump up^ “itlbul2013 09 Supplemental”. ProPublica. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  241. Jump up^ Matthew Green (2013-09-20). “A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering: RSA warns developers not to use RSA products”. Blog.cryptographyengineering.com. Retrieved October 9,2013.
  242. Jump up^ Baker, Stewart A. “Don’t Worry Be Happy”. Wired (Condé Nast) (2.06). Retrieved June 28,2013.
  243. Jump up^ “Key Escrow, Key Recovery, Trusted Third Parties & Govt. Access to Keys”. Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  244. Jump up^ Schneier, Bruce (July 15, 1998). “Declassifying Skipjack”. Crypto-Gram (schneier.com). Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  245. Jump up^ “SKIPJACK and KEA Algorithm Specifications” (PDF). National Institute of Standards and Technology. May 29, 1998. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  246. Jump up^ NSA Denies It Will Spy on Utilities, Threat Level, Wired.com
  247. Jump up^ Mick, Jason (July 8, 2010). “DailyTech – NSA’s “Perfect Citizen” Program: Big Brother or Cybersecurity Savior?”. DailyTech. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  248. Jump up^ Whitney, Lance (July 8, 2010). “Report: NSA initiating program to detect cyberattacks”.CNET.com. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  249. Jump up^ Gorman, Siobhan (2010-07-07). “U.S. Program to Detect Cyber Attacks on Infrastructure”.The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
  250. Jump up^ Robyn Winder and Charlie Speight (April 19, 2013). “Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research”. National Security Agency Public Information. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
  251. Jump up^ Zetter, Kim (May 9, 2013). “Use These Secret NSA Google Search Tips to Become Your Own Spy Agency”. Wired Magazine.
  252. Jump up^ Schneier, Bruce (1996). Applied Cryptography, Second Edition. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 609–610. ISBN 0-471-11709-9.
  253. Jump up^ “United States Patent 6,947,978 – Method for geolocating logical network addresses”. United States Patent and Trademark Office. September 20, 2005. Retrieved July 4, 2008.
  254. Jump up^ James Risen and Eric Lichtblau (June 10, 2013). “How the U.S. Uses Technology to Mine More Data More Quickly”. New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  255. Jump up^ National Security Agency (2009). “ARC Registration”. NSA ARC. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
  256. Jump up^ DNI (2009). “2009 National Intelligence Consumer’s Guide”. Director of National Intelligence. Retrieved April 13, 2011.[dead link]
  257. Jump up^ US Army. “Theater Army Operations, Field Manual No. 3-93 (100–7)”. Retrieved April 13,2011.
  259. Jump up^ Marc Ambinder, How a single IT tech could spy on the world, June 10, 2013.
  260. Jump up^ Misiewicz (September 1998). “Thesis; Modeling and Simulation of a Global Reachback Architecture …”. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
  261. Jump up^ Joe Jarzombek (2004). “Systems, Network, and Information Integration Context for Software Assurance”. Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
  262. Jump up^ Dr. Christopher Griffin (2010). “Dealing with Sensitive Data at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory: Approach and Examples”. msu.edu. Retrieved April 13, 2011.
  263. Jump up^ NPR.org: Officials: Edward Snowden’s Leaks Were Masked By Job Duties, September 18, 2013.
  264. Jump up^ “The DoD Computer Security Center (DoDCSC) was established in January 1981…” and “In 1985, DoDCSC’s name was changed to the National Computer Security Center…” and “its responsibility for computer security throughout the federal government…” in “A Guide to Understanding Audit in Trusted Systems”. National Computer Security Center via National Institute of Standards and Technology CSRC. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  265. Jump up^ “NSA and its National Computer Security Center (NCSC) have responsibility for…” in “Computer Systems Laboratory Bulletin”. National Institute of Standards and Technology CSRC. February 1991. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  266. ^ Jump up to:a b “NSA/NCSC Rainbow Series”. Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved June 30,2013.
  267. Jump up^ “‘Guardian’ journalist: Snowden docs contain NSA ‘blueprint'”. USA Today. Associated Press. July 15, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2013.

Further reading

External links


Related Posts on Pronk Palisades

James Bamford — The National Security Agency (NSA) — Videos

Enemy Of The State: Life Imitating Art –National Security Agency Targets American People — Videos

Big Brother Barack Targets All The American People As Enemies of The State and Democratic Party — National Security Agency’s PRISM Is The Secret Security Surveillance State (S4) Means of Invading Privacy and Limiting Liberty — Outrageous Overreach–Videos

No Such Agency — NSA — National Security Agency — Threat To The Liberty and Privacy of The American People — None Of Their Damn Business — Still Trust The Federal Government? — Videos

National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) Secret Security Surveillance State (S4) Uses Stellar Wind and PRISM To Create Secret Dossiers On All American Citizen Targets Similar To East Germany Stasi Files–Videos

NSA’s PRISM Political Payoff: 40 Million Plus Foreigners Are In USA As Illegal Aliens! — 75% Plus Lean Towards Democratic Party — Pathway To One Party Rule By 2025 If Senate Bill Becomes Law Giving Illegal Aliens Legal Status — 25 Million American Citizens Looking For Full Time Jobs! — Videos

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) Secret Security Surveillance State (S4) Uses Stellar Wind and PRISM To Create Secret Dossiers On All American Citizen Targets Similiar To East Germany Stasi Files–Videos

Posted on June 18, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Computers, Demographics, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Math, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Raves, Security, Strategy, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |







new prism slide

NSA Phone Records


The STASI would have loved this-NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All


He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

James Bamford on NSA Leaks – Charlie Rose 06/13/2013

Companies With Ties to Israel Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA

James Bamford: Inside the NSA’s Largest  Secret Domestic Spy Center

James Bamford on NSA’s un democratic Surveillance

James Bamford Compares Obama Spying On ALL Americans To “East Germany During The Cold War” 

NSA Spying on Americans Isn’t New – Everything Changed after 9/11

James Bamford on NSA Secrets, Keith Alexander’s Influence &Massive Growth of Surveillance, Cyberwar

NSA Chronicler James Bamford on Maddow 06/12/2013 

NSA whistleblower William Binney Keynote at HOPE Number Nine

Ron Paul on Edward Snowden, 4th Amendment, Liberty, Security, Truth

Rand Paul:Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013

Full Show 6/10/13: The Rise of the Security State

The Secret Surveillance State – You Can’t Send a FOIA to Booz Allen! P1

The Secret Surveillance State – The Secret FISA Court P2

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Prevails in Unprecedented Obama Admin Crackdown

US internet spying scandal: President Obama accused of using East German Stasi methods

“U.S. Government Using American-Style Stasi Methods” German MEP

People & Power – Germany’s records of repression

Stasi Files: The Lives of Others | Journal Reporter

The Lost World of Communism (Part 1)

Nova: The Spy Factory Full Video

Revealed: the top secret rules that allow NSA to use US data without a warrant

Fisa court submissions show broad scope of procedures governing NSA’s surveillance of Americans’ communication

Document one: procedures used by NSA to target non-US persons
Document two: procedures used by NSA to minimise data collected from US persons

Top secret documents submitted to the court that oversees surveillance by US intelligence agencies show the judges have signed off on broad orders which allow the NSA to make use of information “inadvertently” collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.

The Guardian is publishing in full two documents submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (known as the Fisa court), signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and stamped 29 July 2009. They detail the procedures the NSA is required to follow to target “non-US persons” under its foreign intelligence powers and what the agency does to minimize data collected on US citizens and residents in the course of that surveillance.

The documents show that even under authorities governing the collection of foreign intelligence from foreign targets, US communications can still be collected, retained and used.

The procedures cover only part of the NSA’s surveillance of domestic US communications. The bulk collection of domestic call records, as first revealed by the Guardian earlier this month, takes place under rolling court orders issued on the basis of a legal interpretation of a different authority, section 215 of the Patriot Act.

The Fisa court’s oversight role has been referenced many times by Barack Obama and senior intelligence officials as they have sought to reassure the public about surveillance, but the procedures approved by the court have never before been publicly disclosed.

The top secret documents published today detail the circumstances in which data collected on US persons under the foreign intelligence authority must be destroyed, extensive steps analysts must take to try to check targets are outside the US, and reveals how US call records are used to help remove US citizens and residents from data collection.

However, alongside those provisions, the Fisa court-approved policies allow the NSA to:

• Keep data that could potentially contain details of US persons for up to five years;

• Retain and make use of “inadvertently acquired” domestic communications if they contain usable intelligence, information on criminal activity, threat of harm to people or property, are encrypted, or are believed to contain any information relevant to cybersecurity;

• Preserve “foreign intelligence information” contained within attorney-client communications;

• Access the content of communications gathered from “U.S. based machine[s]” or phone numbers in order to establish if targets are located in the US, for the purposes of ceasing further surveillance.

The broad scope of the court orders, and the nature of the procedures set out in the documents, appear to clash with assurances from President Obama and senior intelligence officials that the NSA could not access Americans’ call or email information without warrants.

The documents also show that discretion as to who is actually targeted under the NSA’s foreign surveillance powers lies directly with its own analysts, without recourse to courts or superiors – though a percentage of targeting decisions are reviewed by internal audit teams on a regular basis.

Since the Guardian first revealed the extent of the NSA’s collection of US communications, there have been repeated calls for the legal basis of the programs to be released. On Thursday, two US congressmen introduced a bill compelling the Obama administration to declassify the secret legal justifications for NSA surveillance.

The disclosure bill, sponsored by Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, and Todd Rokita, an Indiana Republican, is a complement to one proposed in the Senate last week. It would “increase the transparency of the Fisa Court and the state of the law in this area,” Schiff told the Guardian. “It would give the public a better understanding of the safeguards, as well as the scope of these programs.”

Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act (FAA), which was renewed for five years last December, is the authority under which the NSA is allowed to collect large-scale data, including foreign communications and also communications between the US and other countries, provided the target is overseas.

FAA warrants are issued by the Fisa court for up to 12 months at a time, and authorise the collection of bulk information – some of which can include communications of US citizens, or people inside the US. To intentionally target either of those groups requires an individual warrant.

One-paragraph order

One such warrant seen by the Guardian shows that they do not contain detailed legal rulings or explanation. Instead, the one-paragraph order, signed by a Fisa court judge in 2010, declares that the procedures submitted by the attorney general on behalf of the NSA are consistent with US law and the fourth amendment.

Those procedures state that the “NSA determines whether a person is a non-United States person reasonably believed to be outside the United States in light of the totality of the circumstances based on the information available with respect to that person, including information concerning the communications facility or facilities used by that person”.

It includes information that the NSA analyst uses to make this determination – including IP addresses, statements made by the potential target, and other information in the NSA databases, which can include public information and data collected by other agencies.

Where the NSA has no specific information on a person’s location, analysts are free to presume they are overseas, the document continues.

“In the absence of specific information regarding whether a target is a United States person,” it states “a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States or whose location is not known will be presumed to be a non-United States person unless such person can be positively identified as a United States person.”

If it later appears that a target is in fact located in the US, analysts are permitted to look at the content of messages, or listen to phone calls, to establish if this is indeed the case.

Referring to steps taken to prevent intentional collection of telephone content of those inside the US, the document states: “NSA analysts may analyze content for indications that a foreign target has entered or intends to enter the United States. Such content analysis will be conducted according to analytic and intelligence requirements and priorities.”

Details set out in the “minimization procedures”, regularly referred to in House and Senate hearings, as well as public statements in recent weeks, also raise questions as to the extent of monitoring of US citizens and residents.

NSA minimization procedures signed by Holder in 2009 set out that once a target is confirmed to be within the US, interception must stop immediately. However, these circumstances do not apply to large-scale data where the NSA claims it is unable to filter US communications from non-US ones.

The NSA is empowered to retain data for up to five years and the policy states “communications which may be retained include electronic communications acquired because of limitations on the NSA’s ability to filter communications”.

Even if upon examination a communication is found to be domestic – entirely within the US – the NSA can appeal to its director to keep what it has found if it contains “significant foreign intelligence information”, “evidence of a crime”, “technical data base information” (such as encrypted communications), or “information pertaining to a threat of serious harm to life or property”.

Domestic communications containing none of the above must be destroyed. Communications in which one party was outside the US, but the other is a US-person, are permitted for retention under FAA rules.

The minimization procedure adds that these can be disseminated to other agencies or friendly governments if the US person is anonymised, or including the US person’s identity under certain criteria.

A separate section of the same document notes that as soon as any intercepted communications are determined to have been between someone under US criminal indictment and their attorney, surveillance must stop. However, the material collected can be retained, if it is useful, though in a segregated database:

“The relevant portion of the communication containing that conversation will be segregated and the National Security Division of the Department of Justice will be notified so that appropriate procedures may be established to protect such communications from review or use in any criminal prosecution, while preserving foreign intelligence information contained therein,” the document states.

In practice, much of the decision-making appears to lie with NSA analysts, rather than the Fisa court or senior officials.

A transcript of a 2008 briefing on FAA from the NSA’s general counsel sets out how much discretion NSA analysts possess when it comes to the specifics of targeting, and making decisions on who they believe is a non-US person. Referring to a situation where there has been a suggestion a target is within the US.

“Once again, the standard here is a reasonable belief that your target is outside the United States. What does that mean when you get information that might lead you to believe the contrary? It means you can’t ignore it. You can’t turn a blind eye to somebody saying: ‘Hey, I think so and so is in the United States.’ You can’t ignore that. Does it mean you have to completely turn off collection the minute you hear that? No, it means you have to do some sort of investigation: ‘Is that guy right? Is my target here?” he says.

“But, if everything else you have says ‘no’ (he talked yesterday, I saw him on TV yesterday, even, depending on the target, he was in Baghdad) you can still continue targeting but you have to keep that in mind. You can’t put it aside. You have to investigate it and, once again, with that new information in mind, what is your reasonable belief about your target’s location?”

The broad nature of the court’s oversight role, and the discretion given to NSA analysts, sheds light on responses from the administration and internet companies to the Guardian’s disclosure of the PRISM program. They have stated that the content of online communications is turned over to the NSA only pursuant to a court order. But except when a US citizen is specifically targeted, the court orders used by the NSA to obtain that information as part of Prism are these general FAA orders, not individualized warrants specific to any individual.

Once armed with these general orders, the NSA is empowered to compel telephone and internet companies to turn over to it the communications of any individual identified by the NSA. The Fisa court plays no role in the selection of those individuals, nor does it monitor who is selected by the NSA.

The NSA’s ability to collect and retain the communications of people in the US, even without a warrant, has fuelled congressional demands for an estimate of how many Americans have been caught up in surveillance.

Two US senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall – both members of the Senate intelligence committee – have been seeking this information since 2011, but senior White House and intelligence officials have repeatedly insisted that the agency is unable to gather such statistics.


Background Articles and Videos

Stellar Wind

Stellar Wind was the open secret code name for four surveillance programs by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) during the presidency of George W. Bush and revealed by Thomas Tamm to The New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau.[1] The operation was approved by President George W. Bush shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001.[2] Stellar Wind was succeeded during the presidency of Barack Obama by four major lines of intelligence collection in the territorial United States, together capable of spanning the full range of modern telecommunications.[3]

The program’s activities involved data mining of a large database of the communications of American citizens, including e-mail communications, phone conversations, financial transactions, and Internet activity.[1] William Binney, a retired Technical Leader with the NSA, discussed some of the architectural and operational elements of the program at the 2012 Chaos Communication Congress.[4]

There were internal disputes within the Justice Department about the legality of the program, because data are collected for large numbers of people, not just the subjects of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.[4]

During the Bush Administration, the Stellar Wind cases were referred to by FBI agents as “pizza cases” because many seemingly suspicious cases turned out to be food takeout orders. According to Mueller, approximately 99 percent of the cases led nowhere, but “it’s that other 1% that we’ve got to be concerned about”.[2] One of the known uses of these data were the creation of suspicious activity reports, or “SARS”, about people suspected of terrorist activities. It was one of these reports that revealed former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes, even though he was not suspected of terrorist activities.[1]

In March 2012 Wired magazine published “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)” talking about a vast new NSA facility in Utah and says “For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail,” naming the official William Binney, a former NSA code breaker. Binney went on to say that the NSA had highly secured rooms that tap into major switches, and satellite communications at both AT&T and Verizon.[5] The article suggested that the otherwise dispatched Stellar Wind is actually an active program.



PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[1][2][3][Notes 1] PRISM is a government codename for a data collection effort known officially as US-984XN.[8][9] It is operated under the supervision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[10] The existence of the program was leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013.

A document included in the leak indicated that the PRISM SIGAD was “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports.”[11] The President’s Daily Brief, an all-source intelligence product, cited PRISM data as a source in 1,477 items in 2012.[12] The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been requiring the telecommunications company Verizon to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.[13][14]

According to the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, PRISM cannot be used to intentionally target any Americans or anyone in the United States. Clapper said a special court, Congress, and the executive branch oversee the program and extensive procedures ensure the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of data accidentally collected about Americans is kept to a minimum.[15] Clapper issued a statement and “fact sheet”[16] to correct what he characterized as “significant misimpressions” in articles by The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers.[17]


Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US

Details of information collected via PRISM

PRISM is a “Special Source Operation” in the tradition of NSA’s intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s.[1] A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program, was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and had its legality questioned, because it was conducted without approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).[18][19][20][21] PRISM was authorized by an order of the FISC.[11] Its creation was enabled by the Protect America Act of 2007 under President Bush and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which legally immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with US intelligence collection and was renewed by Congress under President Obama in 2012 for five years until December 2017.[2][22] According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 “specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant” when one of the parties is outside the U.S.[22]

PRISM was first publicly revealed on June 6, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Washington Post and The Guardian by American Edward Snowden.[2][1] The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles.[1][2] The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including (date of joining PRISM in parentheses) Microsoft (2007), Yahoo! (2008), Google (2009), Facebook (2009), Paltalk (2009), YouTube (2010), AOL (2011), Skype (2011), and Apple (2012).[23] The speaker’s notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that “98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.”[1]

The slide presentation stated that much of the world’s electronic communications pass through the United States, because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the United States.[11] The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.[2][11]

According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be United States citizens, but in the process, communication data of some United States citizens are also collected unintentionally.[1] Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign United States data, “it’s nothing to worry about.”[1]

Response from companies

The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data “directly from the servers” of several major internet services providers.[2][1]

Initial Public Statements

Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports.[2][24] Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:[25][26]

Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

  • Microsoft: “We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.”[25]
  • Yahoo!: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.”[25] “Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve, an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive.”[26]
  • Facebook: “We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.”[25]
  • Google: “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a backdoor for the government to access private user data.”[25] “[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.”[26]
  • Apple: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.”[27]
  • Dropbox: “We’ve seen reports that Dropbox might be asked to participate in a government program called PRISM. We are not part of any such program and remain committed to protecting our users’ privacy.”[25]

In response to the technology companies’ denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies’ servers, The New York Times reported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data.[13] The Washington Post suggested, “It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing ‘collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,’ rather than directly to company servers.”[1] “[I]n context, ‘direct’ is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they’re transmitted to some other destination.[26]

“If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all,” Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.[28]

Slide showing two different sources of NSA data collection. The first source the fiber optic cables of the internet handled by the Upstream program and the second source the servers of major internet companies handled by PRISM.[29]

On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant.[30] Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, “I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn’t include this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subject to a gag order.”[31]

The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations.”[32] The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely.[32] In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort.[32] The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel.[32] These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states “Collection directly from the servers”[29] and the companies’ denials.[32]

While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by FISC is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission.[32] Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said.[32] Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information.[32] Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP.[33]

Post-PRISM Transparency Reports

In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.

On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. Government had authorized the communication of “about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range.” In a press release posted to their web site, Facebook reported, “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000.” Facebook further reported that the requests impacted “between 18,000 and 19,000” user accounts, a “tiny fraction of one percent” of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.[34]

Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received “between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)” which impacted “a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base”.[35]

Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be “a step backwards” from its previous, more detailed practices on its site transparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.[36]

Response from United States government

Executive branch

Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on June 7 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats.[13] The statement read in part, “The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.”[37] He went on to say, “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.”[37] Clapper concluded his statement by stating “The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.”[37] On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.[38] In an NBC News interview, Clapper said he answered Senator Wyden’s question in the “least untruthful manner by saying no”.[39]

Clapper also stated that “the NSA collects the phone data in broad swaths, because collecting it (in) a narrow fashion would make it harder to identify terrorism-related communications. The information collected lets the government, over time, make connections about terrorist activities. The program doesn’t let the U.S. listen to people’s calls, but only includes information like call length and telephone numbers dialed.”[15]

On June 8, 2013, Clapper said “the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and The Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress.”[40][10] The fact sheet described PRISM as “an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[10]

The National Intelligence fact sheet further stated that “the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, “provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency.”[10]

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, said on June 7 “What you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.”[41] He also said, “You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”[41]

In separate statements, senior (not mentioned by name in source) Obama administration officials said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.[42]

Legislative branch

In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification,[43] and others said that they had not been aware of the program.[44] After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

  • June 9 “We passed the Patriot Act. We passed specific provisions of the act that allowed for this program to take place, to be enacted in operation,”[45]

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee

  • June 9 “These programs are within the law”, “part of our obligation is keeping Americans safe”, “Human intelligence isn’t going to do it”.[46]
  • June 9 “Here’s the rub: the instances where this has produced good — has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks, is all classified, that’s what’s so hard about this.”[47]
  • June 11 “It went fine…we asked him[ Keith Alexander ] to declassify things because it would be helpful (for people and lawmakers to better understand the intelligence programs).” “I’ve just got to see if the information gets declassified. I’m sure people will find it very interesting.”[48]

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee

  • June 11 “I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing, but I did not have access to this highly compartmentalized information” and “How can you ask when you don’t know the program exists?”[49]

Representative John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House of Representatives

  • June 11 “He’s a traitor”[50] (referring to Edward Snowden)

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act

  • June 9, “This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows.”[51] “President Obama’s claim that ‘this is the most transparent administration in history’ has once again proven false. In fact, it appears that no administration has ever peered more closely or intimately into the lives of innocent Americans.”[51]

Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

  • June 9 “One of the things that we’re charged with is keeping America safe and keeping our civil liberties and privacy intact. I think we have done both in this particular case,”[46]
  • June 9 “Within the last few years this program was used to stop a program, excuse me, to stop a terrorist attack in the United States we know that. It’s, it’s, it’s important, it fills in a little seam that we have and it’s used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States. So in that regard it is a very valuable thing,”[52]

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

  • June 9 “I don’t think the American public knows the extent or knew the extent to which they were being surveilled and their data was being collected.” “I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security (Agency) is collecting,” “It ought to remain sacred, and there’s got to be a balance here. That is what I’m aiming for. Let’s have the debate, let’s be transparent, let’s open this up”.[46]

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

  • June 10 “We have no idea when they [ FISA ] meet, we have no idea what their judgments are”,[53]

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

  • June 6 “When the Senate rushed through a last-minute extension of the FISA Amendments Act late last year, I insisted on a vote on my amendment (SA 3436) to require stronger protections on business records and prohibiting the kind of data-mining this case has revealed. Just last month, I introduced S.1037, the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act,”[54]
  • June 9 “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit.”[45]

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

  • June 9 “We will be receiving secret briefings and we will be asking, I know I’m going to be asking to get more information. I want to make sure that what they’re doing is harvesting information that is necessary to keep us safe and not simply going into everybody’s private telephone conversations and Facebook and communications. I mean one of the, you know the terrorists win when you debilitate freedom of expression and privacy.”[52]

Judicial branch

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has not acknowledged, denied or confirmed any involvement in the PRISM program at this time. It has not issued any press statement or release relating to the current situation and uncertainty.

Applicable law and practice

On June 8, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence issued a fact sheet stating that PRISM “is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program”, but rather computer software used to facilitate the collection of foreign intelligence information “under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[10] Section 702 provides that “the Attorney General [A.G.] and the Director of National Intelligence [DNI] may authorize jointly, for a period of up to 1 year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.”[55] In order to authorize the targeting, the A.G. and DNI need to get an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) pursuant to Section 702 or certify that “intelligence important to the national security of the United States may be lost or not timely acquired and time does not permit the issuance of an order.”[55] When asking for an order, the A.G. and DNI must certify to FISC that “a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information.”[55] They do not need to specify which facilities or property that the targeting will be directed at.[55]

After getting a FISC order or determining that there are emergency circumstances, the A.G. and DNI can direct an electronic communication service provider to give them access to information or facilities to carry out the targeting and keep the targeting secret.[55] The provider then has the option to: (1) comply with the directive; (2) reject it; or (3) challenge it to FISC.

If the provider complies with the directive, it is released from liability to its users for providing the information and reimbursed for the cost of providing it.[55]

If the provider rejects the directive, the A.G. may request an order from FISC to enforce it.[55] A provider that fails to comply with FISC’s order can be punished with contempt of court.[55]

Finally, a provider can petition FISC to reject the directive.[55] In case FISC denies the petition and orders the provider to comply with the directive, the provider risks contempt of court if it refuses to comply with FISC’s order.[55] The provider can appeal FISC’s denial to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review and then appeal the Court of Review’s decision to the Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari for review under seal.[55]

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the FISA Courts had been put in place to oversee intelligence operations in the period after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Beverly Gage of Slate said, “When they were created, these new mechanisms were supposed to stop the kinds of abuses that men like Hoover had engineered. Instead, it now looks as if they have come to function as rubber stamps for the expansive ambitions of the intelligence community. J. Edgar Hoover no longer rules Washington, but it turns out we didn’t need him anyway.”[56]

Involvement of other countries


The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.[57]


Canada’s national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, said that commenting on PRISM “would undermine CSE’s ability to carry out its mandate”. Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada’s standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating “We have fallen too far behind,” Stoddart wrote in her report. “While other nations’ data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a ‘soft’ approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest.” And, “when push comes to shove,” Stoddart wrote, “short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations.”[58]


Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.[59]


Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed[60] the Business Insider article[61] about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM program – Verint Systems and Narus.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that “under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn’t do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information.”[62]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. PRISM may have allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material.[63][64]

Domestic response

Unbalanced scales.svg
The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (June 2013)

The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility on this issue,”[65] and lamented that “for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database.”[66]

Republican and former member of Congress Ron Paul said, “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk…. They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.”[67] Paul denounced the government’s secret surveillance program: “The government does not need to know more about what we are doing…. We need to know more about what the government is doing.”[67] He called Congress “derelict in giving that much power to the government,” and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.[68]

In response to Obama administration arguments that it could stop terrorism in the cases of Najibullah Zazi and David Headley, Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said in regards to the role of PRISM and Boundless Informant interviews with parties involved in the Zazi scheme and court documents lodged in the United States and the United Kingdom indicated that “conventional” surveillance methods such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services initiated the investigation into the Zazi case.[69] An anonymous former CIA agent said that in regards to the Headley case, “That’s nonsense. It played no role at all in the Headley case. That’s not the way it happened at all.”[69] Pilkington and Watt concluded that the data-mining programs “played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots.”[69] Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev had visited Inspire and even though Russian intelligence officials alerted U.S. intelligence officials about Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston bombings, and that the initial evidence implicating him came from his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and not from federal intelligence. In addition Daly pointed to the fact that Faisal Shahzad visited Inspire but that federal authorities did not stop his attempted terrorist plot. Daly concluded “The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety.”[70] In addition, political commentator Bill O’Reilly criticized the government, saying that PRISM did not stop the Boston bombings.[71]

In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA’s programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers;[72] the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show’s first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a “faux scandal.”[72][73] George Takei, an actor who had experienced Japanese American internment, said that due to his memories of the internment, he felt concern towards the NSA surveillance programs that had been revealed.[74]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.[75]

On June 11, 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the NSA citing that PRISM “violates Americans’ constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy”.[76]

International response

Reactions of Internet users in China were mixed between viewing a loss of freedom worldwide and seeing state surveillance coming out of secrecy. The story broke just before US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California.[77][78] When asked about NSA hacking China, the spokeswoman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said “China strongly advocates cybersecurity”.[79] The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style.[80] Hong Kong legislators Gary Fan and Claudia Mo wrote a letter to Obama, stating “the revelations of blanket surveillance of global communications by the world’s leading democracy have damaged the image of the U.S. among freedom-loving peoples around the world.”[81]

Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, called PRISM “a violation of EU laws”.[82]

Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as “monstrous”.[83] He further added that White House claims do “not reassure me at all” and that “given the large number of German users of Google, Facebook, Apple or Microsoft services, I expect the German government […] is committed to clarification and limitation of surveillance.” Steffen Seibert, press secretary of the Chancellor’s office, announced that Angela Merkel will put these issues on the agenda of the talks with Barack Obama during his pending visit in Berlin.[84]

The Italian president of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance dragnet “would not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation”.[85]

William Hague, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, dismissed accusations that British security agencies had been circumventing British law by using information gathered on British citizens by Prism[86] saying, “Any data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards.”[86] David Cameron said Britain’s spy agencies that received data collected from PRISM acted within the law: “I’m satisfied that we have intelligence agencies that do a fantastically important job for this country to keep us safe, and they operate within the law.”[86][87] Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said that if the British intelligence agencies were seeking to know the content of emails about people living in the UK, then they actually have to get lawful authority.[87] The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office was more cautious, saying it would investigate PRISM alongside other European data agencies: “There are real issues about the extent to which U.S. law agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens. Aspects of U.S. law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to U.S. agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK’s own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the U.S. Government.”[82]

Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, said “Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it’s abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals’ privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.”[88]

Kim Dotcom, a German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur who owned Megaupload, which was closed by the U.S. federal government, said “We should heed warnings from Snowden because the prospect of an Orwellian society outweighs whatever security benefits we derive from Prism or Five Eyes.”[89] The Hong Kong law firm representing Dotcom expressed a fear that the communication between Dotcom and the firm had been compromised by U.S. intelligence programs.[90]

Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from Edward Snowden.[91]

Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said “We knew about their past efforts to trace our system. We have used our technical resources to foil their efforts and have been able to stop them from succeeding so far.”[92][93]

Related government Internet surveillance programs

A parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, gathers up metadata as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet. BLARNEY’s summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as “an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.”[94]

A related program, a big data visualization system based on cloud computing and free and open-source software (FOSS) technology known as “Boundless Informant”, was disclosed in documents leaked to The Guardian and reported on June 8, 2013. A leaked, top secret map allegedly produced by Boundless Informant revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in the U.S.[95]



ThinThread is the name of a project that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) pursued during the 1990s, according to a May 17, 2006 article in The Baltimore Sun.[1] The program involved wiretapping and sophisticated analysis of the resulting data, but according to the article, the program was discontinued three weeks before the September 11, 2001 attacks due to the changes in priorities and the consolidation of U.S. intelligence authority.[2] The “change in priority” consisted of the decision made by the director of NSA General Michael V. Hayden to go with a concept called Trailblazer, despite the fact that ThinThread was a working prototype that protected the privacy of U.S. citizens.

ThinThread was dismissed and replaced by the Trailblazer Project, which lacked the privacy protections.[3] A consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was awarded a $280 million contract to develop Trailblazer in 2002.[4]



Trailblazer was a United States National Security Agency (NSA) program intended to develop a capability to analyze data carried on communications networks like the Internet. It was intended to track entities using communication methods such as cell phones and e-mail.[1][2] It ran over budget, failed to accomplish critical goals, and was cancelled.

NSA whistleblowers J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, Ed Loomis, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Diane Roark complained to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General (IG) about waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and the fact that a successful operating prototype existed, but was ignored when the Trailblazer program was launched. The complaint was accepted by the IG and an investigation began that lasted until mid-2005 when the final results were issued. The results were largely hidden, as the report given to the public was heavily (90%) redacted, while the original report was heavily classified, thus restricting the ability of most people to see it.

The people who filed the IG complaint were later raided by armed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. While the Government threatened to prosecute all who signed the IG report, it ultimately chose to pursue an NSA Senior Executive — Thomas Andrews Drake — who helped with the report internally to NSA and who had spoken with a reporter about the project. Drake was later charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. His defenders claimed this was retaliation.[3][4] The charges against him were later dropped, and he agreed to plead guilty to having committed a misdemeanor under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, something that Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (which helped represent him) called an “act of civil disobedience”.[5]


Trailblazer was chosen over a similar program named ThinThread, a less costly project which had been designed with built-in privacy protections for United States citizens.[4][3] Trailblazer was later linked to the NSA electronic surveillance program and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.[3]

In 2002 a consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was chosen by the NSA to produce a technology demonstration platform in a contract worth $280 million. Project participants included Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Booz Allen Hamilton. The project was overseen by NSA Deputy Director William B. Black, Jr., an NSA worker who had gone to SAIC, and then been re-hired back to NSA by NSA director Michael Hayden in 2000.[6][7][8] SAIC had also hired a former NSA director to its management; Bobby Inman.[9] SAIC also participated in the concept definition phase of Trailblazer.[10][11]

Redacted version of the DoD Inspector General audit, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Project on Government Oversight and others. [12][5]

The NSA Inspector General issued a report on Trailblazer that “discussed improperly based contract cost increases, non-conformance in the management of the Statement of Work, and excessive labor rates for contractor personnel.” [13]

In 2004 the DoD IG report criticized the program (see the Whistleblowing section below). It said that the “NSA ‘disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs'” and “that TRAILBLAZER was poorly executed and overly expensive …” Several contractors for the project were worried about cooperating with DoD’s audit for fear of “management reprisal.”[5] The Director of NSA “nonconcurred” with several statements in the IG audit, and the report contains a discussion of those disagreements.[14]

In 2005, NSA director Michael Hayden told a Senate hearing that the Trailblazer program was several hundred million dollars over budget and years behind schedule.[15] In 2006 the program was shut down,[3] after having cost billions of US Dollars.[16] Several anonymous NSA sources told Hosenball of Newsweek later on that the project was a “wasteful failure”.[17]

The new project replacing Trailblazer is called Turbulence.[3]


According to a 2011 New Yorker article, in the early days of the project several NSA employees met with Diane S Roark, an NSA budget expert on the House Intelligence Committee. They aired their grievances about Trailblazer. In response, NSA director Michael Hayden sent out a memo saying that “individuals, in a session with our congressional overseers, took a position in direct opposition to one that we had corporately decided to follow … Actions contrary to our decisions will have a serious adverse effect on our efforts to transform N.S.A., and I cannot tolerate them.”[3]

In September 2002, several people filed a complaint with the Department of Defense IG’s office regarding problems with Trailblazer: they included Roark (aforementioned), ex-NSA senior analysts Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Senior Computer Systems Analyst Ed Loomis, who had quit the agency over concerns about its mismanagement of acquisition and allegedly illegal domestic spying.[3][18][19] A major source for the report was NSA senior officer Thomas Andrews Drake. Drake had been complaining to his superiors for some time about problems at the agency, and about the superiority of ThinThread over Trailblazer, for example, at protecting privacy.[19] Drake gave info to DoD during its investigation of the matter.[19] Roark also went to her boss at the House committee, Porter Goss, about problems, but was rebuffed.[20] She also attempted to contact William Renquist, the Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.[19]

Drake’s own boss, Maureen Baginski, the third-highest officer at NSA, quit partly over concerns about the legality of its behavior.[3]

In 2003, the NSA IG (not the DoD IG)[19] had declared Trailblazer an expensive failure.[21] It had cost more than $1 billion.[8][22][23]

In 2005, the DoD IG produced a report on the result of its investigation of the complaint of Roark and the others in 2002. This report was not released to the public, but it has been described as very negative.[18] Mayer writes that it hastened the closure of Trailblazer, which was at the time in trouble from congress for being over budget.[3]

In November 2005, Drake contacted Siobhan Gorman, a reporter of The Baltimore Sun.[24][17][25] Gorman wrote several articles about problems at the NSA, including articles on Trailblazer. This series got her an award from the Society of Professional Journalists.[17]

In 2005, President George W. Bush ordered the FBI to find whoever had disclosed information about the NSA electronic surveillance program and its disclosure in the New York Times. Eventually, this investigation led to the people who had filed the 2002 DoD IG request, even though they had nothing to do with the New York Times disclosure. In 2007, the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe were raided by armed FBI agents. According to Mayer, Binney claims the FBI pointed guns at his head and that of his wife. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union.[3][18] None of these people were ever charged with any crime. Four months later, Drake was raided in November 2007 and his computers and documents were confiscated.

In 2010 Drake was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of obstructing justice, providing false information, and violating the Espionage Act of 1917,[17][26][27] part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leakers”.[24][17][28][18] The government tried to get Roark to testify to a conspiracy, and made similar requests to Drake, offering him a plea bargain. They both refused.[3]

In June 2011, the ten original charges against Drake were dropped, instead he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.[5]


Boundless Informant

Boundless Informant is a big data analysis and data visualization system used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to give NSA managers summaries of NSA’s world wide data collection activities.[1] It is described in an unclassified, For Official Use Only Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memo published by The Guardian.[2] According to a Top Secret heat map display also published by The Guardian and allegedly produced by the Boundless Informant program, almost 3 billion data elements from inside the United States were captured by NSA over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.

Data analyzed by Boundless Informant includes electronic surveillance program records (DNI) and telephone call metadata records (DNR) stored in an NSA data archive called GM-PLACE. It does not include FISA data, according to the FAQ memo. PRISM, a government codename for a collection effort known officially as US-984XN, which was revealed at the same time as Boundless Informant, is one source of DNR data. According to the map, Boundless Informant summarizes data records from 504 separate DNR and DNI collection sources (SIGADs). In the map, countries that are under surveillance are assigned a color from green, representing least coverage to red, most intensive.[3][4]


Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US.

Intelligence gathered by the United States government inside the United States or specifically targeting US citizens is legally required to be gathered in compliance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court).[5][6][7]

NSA global data mining projects have existed for decades, but recent programs of intelligence gathering and analysis that include data gathered from inside the United States such as PRISM were enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under President Obama in December 2012.[8]

Boundless Informant was first publicly revealed on June 8, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Guardian.[1][9] The newspaper identified its informant, at his request, as Edward Snowden, who worked at the NSA for the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.[10]


According to published slides, Boundless Informant leverages Free and Open Source Software—and is therefore “available to all NSA developers”—and corporate services hosted in the cloud. The tool uses HDFS, MapReduce, and Cloudbase for data processing.[11]

Legality and FISA Amendments Act of 2008

The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) Section 702 is referenced in PRISM documents detailing the electronic interception, capture and analysis of metadata. Many reports and letters of concern written by members of Congress suggest that this section of FAA in particular is legally and constitutionally problematic, such as by targeting U.S. persons, insofar as “Collections occur in U.S.” as published documents indicate.[12][13][14][15]

The ACLU has asserted the following regarding the FAA: “Regardless of abuses, the problem with the FAA is more fundamental: the statute itself is unconstitutional.”[16]

Senator Rand Paul is introducing new legislation called the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013 to stop the NSA or other agencies of the United States government from violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution using technology and big data information systems like PRISM and Boundless Informant.[17][18]



ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement[1] (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS[1] and Five Eyes).[2][3] It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.[4]

ECHELON, according to information in the European Parliament document, “On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system)” was created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s.[5]

The system has been reported in a number of public sources.[6] Its capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001,[5] and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States.[4] The European Parliament stated in its report that the term ECHELON is used in a number of contexts, but that the evidence presented indicates that it was the name for a signals intelligence collection system. The report concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links.[5]

Bamford describes the system as the software controlling the collection and distribution of civilian telecommunications traffic conveyed using communication satellites, with the collection being undertaken by ground stations located in the footprint of the downlink leg.


UKUSA Community
Map of UKUSA Community countries with Ireland

New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America

The UKUSA intelligence community was assessed by the European Parliament (EP) in 2000 to include the signals intelligence agencies of each of the member states:

  • the Government Communications Headquarters of the United Kingdom,
  • the National Security Agency of the United States,
  • the Communications Security Establishment of Canada,
  • the Defence Signals Directorate of Australia, and
  • the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand.
  • the National SIGINT Organisation (NSO) of The Netherlands

The EP report concluded that it seemed likely that ECHELON is a method of sorting captured signal traffic, rather than a comprehensive analysis tool.[5]


The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic.[5] During World War II and through the 1950s, high frequency (“short wave”) radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication,[7] and could be intercepted at great distances.[5] The rise of geostationary communications satellites in the 1960s presented new possibilities for intercepting international communications. The report to the European Parliament of 2001 states: “If UKUSA states operate listening stations in the relevant regions of the earth, in principle they can intercept all telephone, fax and data traffic transmitted via such satellites.”[5]

The role of satellites in point-to-point voice and data communications has largely been supplanted by fiber optics; in 2006, 99% of the world’s long-distance voice and data traffic was carried over optical-fiber.[8] The proportion of international communications accounted for by satellite links is said to have decreased substantially over the past few years[when?] in Central Europe to an amount between 0.4% and 5%.[5] Even in less-developed parts of the world, communications satellites are used largely for point-to-multipoint applications, such as video.[9] Thus, the majority of communications can no longer be intercepted by earth stations; they can only be collected by tapping cables and intercepting line-of-sight microwave signals, which is possible only to a limited extent.[5]

One method of interception is to place equipment at locations where fiber optic communications are switched. For the Internet, much of the switching occurs at relatively few sites. There have been reports of one such intercept site, Room 641A, in the United States. In the past[when?] much Internet traffic was routed through the U.S. and the UK, but this has changed; for example, in 2000, 95% of intra-German Internet communications was routed via the DE-CIX Internet exchange point in Frankfurt.[5] A comprehensive worldwide surveillance network is possible only if clandestine intercept sites are installed in the territory of friendly nations, and/or if local authorities cooperate. The report to the European Parliament points out that interception of private communications by foreign intelligence services is not necessarily limited to the U.S. or British foreign intelligence services.[5]

Most reports on ECHELON focus on satellite interception; testimony before the European Parliament indicated that separate but similar UK-US systems are in place to monitor communication through undersea cables, microwave transmissions and other lines.[10]


See also: Industrial espionage

Intelligence monitoring of citizens, and their communications, in the area covered by the AUSCANNZUKUS security agreement has caused concern. British journalist Duncan Campbell and New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager asserted in the 1990s that the United States was exploiting ECHELON traffic for industrial espionage, rather than military and diplomatic purposes.[10] Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon[5][11] and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie.[12] An article in the US newspaper Baltimore Sun reported in 1995 that European aerospace company Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994 after the US National Security Agency reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract.[13][14]

In 2001, the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System recommended to the European Parliament that citizens of member states routinely use cryptography in their communications to protect their privacy, because economic espionage with ECHELON has been conducted by the US intelligence agencies.[5]

Bamford provides an alternative view, highlighting that legislation prohibits the use of intercepted communications for commercial purposes, although he does not elaborate on how intercepted communications are used as part of an all-source intelligence process.


According to its website, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is “a high technology organization … on the frontiers of communications and data processing”. In 1999 the Australian Senate Joint Standing Committee on Treaties was told by Professor Desmond Ball that the Pine Gap facility was used as a ground station for a satellite-based interception network. The satellites were said to be large radio dishes between 20 and 100 meters in diameter in geostationary orbits.[citation needed] The original purpose of the network was to monitor the telemetry from 1970s Soviet weapons, air defence radar, communications satellites and ground based microwave communications.[15]


The European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System stated: “It seems likely, in view of the evidence and the consistent pattern of statements from a very wide range of individuals and organisations, including American sources, that its name is in fact ECHELON, although this is a relatively minor detail.”[5] The U.S. intelligence community uses many code names (see, for example, CIA cryptonym).

Former NSA employee Margaret Newsham claims that she worked on the configuration and installation of software that makes up the ECHELON system while employed at Lockheed Martin, for whom she worked from 1974 to 1984 in Sunnyvale, California, US, and in Menwith Hill, England, UK.[16] At that time, according to Newsham, the code name ECHELON was NSA’s term for the computer network itself. Lockheed called it P415. The software programs were called SILKWORTH and SIRE. A satellite named VORTEX intercepted communications. An image available on the internet of a fragment apparently torn from a job description shows Echelon listed along with several other code names.[17]

Ground stations

The 2001 European Parliamentary (EP) report[5] lists several ground stations as possibly belonging to, or participating in, the ECHELON network. These include:

Likely satellite intercept stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 54 ff) as likely to have, or to have had, a role in intercepting transmissions from telecommunications satellites:

  • Hong Kong (since closed)
  • Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (Geraldton, Western Australia)
  • Menwith Hill (Yorkshire, U.K.) Map (reportedly the largest Echelon facility)[18]
  • Misawa Air Base (Japan) Map
  • GCHQ Bude, formerly known as GCHQ CSO Morwenstow, (Cornwall, U.K.) Map
  • Pine Gap (Northern Territory, Australia – close to Alice Springs) Map
  • Sugar Grove (West Virginia, U.S.) Map
  • Yakima Training Center (Washington, U.S.) Map
  • GCSB Waihopai (New Zealand)
  • GCSB Tangimoana (New Zealand)
  • CFS Leitrim (Ontario, Canada)
  • Teufelsberg (Berlin, Germany) (closed 1992)

Other potentially related stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 57 ff) as ones whose roles “cannot be clearly established”:

  • Ayios Nikolaos (Cyprus – U.K.)
  • Bad Aibling Station (Bad Aibling, Germany – U.S.)
    • relocated to Griesheim in 2004[19]
    • deactivated in 2008[20]
  • Buckley Air Force Base (Aurora, Colorado)
  • Fort Gordon (Georgia, U.S.)
  • Gander (Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada)
  • Guam (Pacific Ocean, U.S.)
  • Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center (Hawaii, U.S.)
  • Lackland Air Force Base, Medina Annex (San Antonio, Texas)


Room 641A

Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency that commenced operations in 2003 and was exposed in 2006.[1][2]


Room 641A is located in the SBC Communications building at 611 Folsom Street, San Francisco, three floors of which were occupied by AT&T before SBC purchased AT&T.[1] The room was referred to in internal AT&T documents as the SG3 [Study Group 3] Secure Room. It is fed by fiber optic lines from beam splitters installed in fiber optic trunks carrying Internet backbone traffic[3] and, as analyzed by J. Scott Marcus, a former CTO for GTE and a former adviser to the FCC, who has access to all Internet traffic that passes through the building, and therefore “the capability to enable surveillance and analysis of internet content on a massive scale, including both overseas and purely domestic traffic.”[4] Former director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, William Binney, has estimated that 10 to 20 such facilities have been installed throughout the United States.[2]

The room measures about 24 by 48 feet (7.3 by 15 m) and contains several racks of equipment, including a Narus STA 6400, a device designed to intercept and analyze Internet communications at very high speeds.[1]

The very existence of the room was revealed by a former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, and was the subject of a 2006 class action lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against AT&T.[5] Klein claims he was told that similar black rooms are operated at other facilities around the country.

Room 641A and the controversies surrounding it were subjects of an episode of Frontline, the current affairs documentary program on PBS. It was originally broadcast on May 15, 2007. It was also featured on PBS’s NOW on March 14, 2008. The room was also covered in the PBS Nova episode “The Spy Factory”.


Basic diagram of how the alleged wiretapping was accomplished. From EFF court filings[4]

More complicated diagram of how it allegedly worked. From EFF court filings.[3] See bottom of the file page for enlarged and rotated version.

Main article: Hepting v. AT&T

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T on January 31, 2006, accusing the telecommunication company of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in a massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans’ communications. On July 20, 2006, a federal judge denied the government’s and AT&T’s motions to dismiss the case, chiefly on the ground of the States Secrets Privilege, allowing the lawsuit to go forward. On August 15, 2007, the case was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was dismissed on December 29, 2011 based on a retroactive grant of immunity by Congress for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.[6] A different case by the EFF was filed on September 18, 2008, titled Jewel v. NSA.


List of government surveillance projects for the United States

United States

A top secret document leaked by Edward Snowden to The Guardian in 2013, originally due to be declassified on 12 April 2038.


Enemy Of The State: Life Imitating Art –National Security Agency Targets American People — Vidoes

Big Brother Barack Targets All The American People As Enemies of The State and Democratic Party — National Security Agency’s PRISM Is The Secret Security Surveillance State (S4) Means of Invading Privacy and Limiting Liberty — Outrageous Overreach–Videos

No Such Agency — NSA — National Security Agency — Threat To The Liberty and Privacy of The American People — None Of Their Damn Business — Still Trust The Federal Government? — Videos

NSA’s PRISM Political Payoff: 40 Million Plus Foreigners Are In USA As Illegal Aliens! — 75% Plus Lean Towards Democratic Party — Pathway To One Party Rule By 2025 If Senate Bill Becomes Law Giving Illegal Aliens Legal Status — 25 Million American Citizens Looking For Full Time Jobs! — Videos

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...