National Security Agency

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The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), established by a memorandum dated October 24, 1952, by President Harry S. Truman, is "the organization within the U.S. Government responsible for communications intelligence (COMINT) activities." [1]

June, 2013, Revelations by Glenn Greenwald Based on Edward Snowden's Whistleblowing

Glenn Greenwald and his reporting dominated the news in June 2013 when he reported in the Guardian information provided to him by Edward Snowden exposing massive, secret, global spying via NSA acquisition of online data on hundreds of millions of people around the world.

George W. Bush's domestic spying

NSA "cookies"

The NSA had been placing files called "cookies" on visitors' computers to track internet surfing activity "despite strict federal rules banning most of them," the Associated Press's Anick Jesdanun reported December 29, 2005. Following a privacy activist's complaint, the NSA acknowledged a mistake but "the issue raises questions about privacy at a spy agency already on the defensive amid reports of a secretive eavesdropping program in the United States."

"Until Tuesday [December 17th], the NSA site created two cookies that do not expire until 2035--likely beyond the life of any computer in use today," Jesdanun wrote.

Also see:

  • "NSA Web Site Uses Banned 'Cookies'," Associated Press (CBS News), December 28, 2005: "A senior official must sign off on any such use, and an agency that uses them must disclose and detail their use in its privacy policy."

NSA Overview

The NSA is "the Nation's cryptologic organization. It coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to protect U.S. information systems and produce foreign intelligence information. A high technology organization, NSA is on the frontiers of communications and data processing. It is also one of the most important centers of foreign language analysis and research within the Government."

  • Signals Intelligence (SIGINT)
  • Information Systems Security (INFOSEC) - "protecting all classified and sensitive information that is stored or sent through U.S. Government equipment."
  • R&D - Research and development programs: "cryptanalytic research led to the first large-scale computer and the first solid-state computer, predecessors to the modern computer."
  • NSA "employs the country's premier codemakers and codebreakers."

"Most NSA/CSS employees, both civilian and military, are headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland, centrally located between Baltimore and Washington, DC. Its workforce represents an unusual combination of specialties: analysts, engineers, physicists, mathematicians, linguists, computer scientists, researchers, as well as customer relations specialists, security officers, data flow experts, managers, administrative and clerical assistants."[2]

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  1. National Security Administration, NSA Leadership,, Accessed June 19, 2013.