NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY

Generally

1999

Materials presented in chronological order.

Loeb, Vernon. "General Named to Head NSA: Air Force's Hayden Faces Big Challenges." Washington Post, 25 Feb. 1999, A21. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"President Clinton has nominated Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, a veteran intelligence officer with a background in information warfare and defense policy analysis," as the next NSA director.

Vest, Jason, and Wayne Madsen. "A Most Unusual Collection Agency: How the U.S. Undid UNSCOM Through Its Empire of Electronic Ears." Village Voice, 2 Mar. 1999, 46-48, 52. [http://www.villagevoice.com]

"[A]ccording to a handful of published sources, as well as assessments by independent experts and interviews with current and former intelligence officers, the U.S. government's prime mover in Iraqi electronic surveillance was most likely a super-secret organization run jointly by the the CIA and the NSA ... called the Special Collection Service."

Clark comment: This lengthy article -- chock full of "it is possibles," speculation from supposedly "informed" non-government personnel, Scott Ritter charges, and Mike Frost "exposes" -- includes a brief discussion ("The Radome Archipelago," p. 48) of NSA Sigint acitivities and concludes with a list of "locations of ... ground-based" NSA sites around the world.

Acey, Madeleine. "Report: U.S. Uses Key Escrow to Steal Secrets." New York Times, 18 May 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

A report for the Scientific and Technological Options Assessment Panel of the European Parliament says that "the United States has tried to persuade European Union countries to adopt its key escrow or key recovery policies -- allowing backdoor access to encryption programs -- ... [so NSA can] intercept confidential company communications and give them to favored competitors."

Markoff, John. "A Mysterious Component Roils Microsoft." New York Times, 4 Sep. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Andrew Fernandes, chief scientist of Cryptonym Corporation, a Canadian software firm, "dissecting a piece of Microsoft security software, made an unexpected find: an element in the Windows operating system labeled 'NSAKey.' When his discovery was made known on his company's Web site, it set off a firestorm of Orwellian visions in Internet discussion groups." See also, John Schwartz, "Microsoft Denies NSA Has Keys To Windows," Washington Post, 4 Sep. 1999, E1.

Frank, Diane. "Super-Secret NSA Transitioning to Commercial Services Model." Federal Computer Week, 21 Oct. 1999. [http://www.fcw.com]

Mike Jacobs, NSA deputy director of information systems, told the National Information Systems Security Conference on 20 October 1999 that the agency "is breaking away from its traditional role of building 'black boxes' for encrypting highly classified information" in favor of offering "security assessment, testing, red teams and diagnostics services to other Defense and civilian agencies."

According to Defense Information and Electronics Report, "NSA To Spend More on R&D to Protect Future Networks," 22 October 1999, 1, Jacobs also told the conference that NSA "has significantly increased its spending on research and development projects aimed at protecting the nation's critical information infrastructures."

Bamford, James. "Loud and Clear: The Most Secret of Secret Agencies Operates under Outdated Laws." Washington Post, 14 Nov. 1999, B1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Menwith Hill on the Yorkshire moors in northern England "is the NSA's largest listening post anywhere in the world.... [R]ather than shrinking in the decade since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Menwith Hill has grown. People in Europe and the United States are beginning to ask why. Has the NSA turned from eavesdropping on the communists to eavesdropping on businesses and private citizens in Europe and the United States?"

Dreyfus, Suelette.

1. "This Is Just Between Us (and the Spies)." The Independent (UK), 15 Nov. 1999. [http://www.independent.co.uk]

The U.S. National Security Agency was granted a patent on 10 August 1999 for "a system of automatic topic spotting and labelling of data. The patent officially confirms for the first time that the NSA has been working on ways of automatically analysing human speech. The NSA's invention is intended automatically to sift through human speech transcripts in any language. The patent document specifically mentions 'machine-transcribed speech' as a potential source."

2. "Spies in the 'Forests.'" The Independent (UK), 22 Nov. 1999. [http://www.independent.co.uk]

Two U.S. Defense Department papers, published at the 1997 and 1998 Text Retrieval Conference (TREC), show that the U.S. government has built a working prototype of softwar, called "Semantic Forests," "that analyses voice transcripts and other documents in order to allow intelligent searching for specific topics. The software could be used to analyse computer-transcribed telephone conversations."

Ensor, David. "Biggest U.S. Spy Agency Choking on Too Much Information." CNN, 25 Nov. 1999. [http://www.cnn.com]

The National Security Agency "is in crisis, overwhelmed by too many targets, too much information and the challenges created by increasingly sophisticated technologies."

Brewin, Bob, Daniel Verton, and William Matthews. "NSA Playing IT Catch-Up." Federal Computer Week, 6 Dec. 1999, 1.

NSA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden "has called for a sweeping overhaul of the super-secret agency's management and information systems to bring it up-to-date with the exploding pace of change in telecommunications and information technology." Hayden has declared "100 Days of Change" after receiving "a scathing report from a group of NSA managers in October that depicts an agency mired in bureaucratic conflict, suffering from poor leadership and losing touch with the government clients it serves."

Hersh, Seymour M. "The Intelligence Gap: How the Digital Age Left Our Spies Out in the Cold." New Yorker, 6 Dec. 1999, 58-76. [Available at http://cryptome.info/nsa-hersh.htm]

NSA "has become a victim of the high-tech world it helped to create. Through mismanagement, arrogance, and fear of the unknown, the senior military and civilian bureaucrats who work at the agency's headquarters ... have failed to prepare fully for today's high-volume flow of E-mail and fibre-optic transmissions -- even as nations throughout Europe, Asia, and the Third World have begun exchanging diplomatic and national-security messages encrypted in unbreakable digital code."

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