NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY

2001 - 2005

 

Materials presented in chronological order.

Best, Richard A., Jr. The National Security Agency: Issues for Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 16 Jan. 2001. Available at: http://www.fas.org/irp/crs/RL30740.pdf.

Aftergood, Secrecy News, 15 Jun. 2001, comments that this CRS report "break[s] little new analytic ground, but ... offers [a] reliable summar[y] of complex issues in relatively concise and readable form."

Martin, David. "National Security Nightmare: The Largest Spy Agency Falls Behind." CBS News: 60 Minutes, 13 Feb. 2001. [http://cbsnews.com]

Includes comments by DIRNSA Mike Hayden about some of NSA's challenges.

Startzman, Shirley [INSCOM POC]. "Bad Aibling Station to Close." Fort Belvoir, VA: U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, 31 May 2001. [http://www.vulcan.belvoir.army.mil]

According to an announcement on 31 May 2001, Bad Aibling Station (BAS), Germany, will be closed and forces stationed there consolidated and realigned. "The Department of Defense made the decision at the request of the Director of the National Security Agency/Chief, Central Security Service (NSA/CSS). Current operations ... will cease on Sept. 30, 2002, with return of the facility to the German Government to be completed by fiscal year 2003."

BAS "is an integral part of the Department of Defense communications network and provides support to U.S. and allied interests. There has been a U.S. presence in Bad Aibling since 1947. The U.S. Army took command of the station in 1952. In 1971, the station became a predominately civilian operation managed by NSA. In 1972, its name was changed to the current Bad Aibling Station. In 1994, BAS management was transferred from NSA to the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM)."

Clark, James. "Americans Expand Top Spy Base in UK." Sunday Times (London), 10 Jun. 2001. [http://www.sunday-times.co.uk]

"Hundreds of staff from ... the National Security Agency (NSA)[] will be transferred from a base in southern Germany to RAF Menwith Hill.... The NSA staff will arrive between March and September next year, after the closure of Bad Aibling in Bavaria."

Loeb, Vernon. "Test of Strength." Washington Post, 29 Jul. 2001, W08. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

This is a lengthy and generally well-focused magazine article surveying in some depth the challenges facing NSA and its director, Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden. It is worth a read.

Loeb, Vernon. "New Blood." Washington Post, 7 Aug. 2001, A13. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

DIRNSA Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden has named four outsiders to top jobs at NSA: Riley Purdue, an executive at Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), will be chief of signals intelligence requirements in the newly created Directorate of Signals Intelligence; Richard G. Turner, former information technology executive at the Federal Trade Commission, becomes the agency's new chief information officer; Michael G. Lawrence, former director of intergovernmental affairs at the District's Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, becomes director of legislative affairs; and William E. Vajda, a former information systems official at the IRS, will be deputy director for information technology and infrastructure services.

Bruce, Ian. "Spy Base in Yorkshire Listens in on bin Laden's Phone Calls." Herald (London), 17 Sep. 2001. [http://www.theherald.co.uk]

"Britain is playing a key role in the hunt for Osama bin Laden ... via the top-secret electronic spy base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire. Every phone call, fax, internet and microwave transmission in or out of Afghanistan is being monitored by the site's joint UK-US Echelon surveillance system to try to locate bin Laden and his closest lieutenants."

Pincus, Walter, and Dana Priest. "NSA Intercepts on Eve of 9/11 Sent a Warning." Washington Post, 20 Jun. 2002, A1.

Risen, James, and David Johnston. "Agency Is Under Scrutiny for Overlooked Messages." New York Times, 20 Jun. 2002. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to U.S. intelligence officials on 19 June 2002, NSA "intercepted two cryptic communications [from Afghanistan] on the the day before the Sept. 11 attacks that referred to a major event scheduled for the next day." NSA analysts "did not process, translate and review the intercepted Arabic communications until the day after the attacks." See also, Scott Shane and Ariel Sabar, "Coded Warnings Became Clear Only in Light of Sept. 11 Attacks," Baltimore Sun, 20 Jun. 2002.

Waller, Douglas. "The NSA Draws Fire." Time, 29 Jul. 2002, 14.

NSA "is already taking heat for being slow to analyze two cryptic messages it intercepted last Sept. 10, warning that something big was going to happen the next day." Now, "a scathing classified report" issued by the House Intelligence Committee's Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, an unclassified summary of which has been released, "has concluded that the agency is badly mismanaged,... and that resulted in its failing 'to provide tactical and strategic warning' of Sept. 11."

Bright, Martin, Ed Vulliamy, and Peter Beaumont. "Revealed: US Dirty Tricks to Win Vote on Iraqi War." The Observer, 2 Mar. 2003.

An NSA memorandum "leaked to The Observer" reveals that the United States is conducting an "aggressive surveillance operation, which involves interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN delegates in New York." Clark comment: The purported NSA document is filled with easily identifiable "Briticisms."

Pincus, Walter, and Dana Priest. "Spy Agencies Faulted: Senate Cites Lack of Coordination." Washington Post, 13 May 2003, A17. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to the SSCI's report on the FY 2004 intelligence spending authorization bill, there should be "more cooperation and less competition between the Defense Department's intelligence agencies and the rest of the intelligence community, including the CIA.... Although the total for intelligence spending in fiscal 2004 is classified, the best estimate is about $38 billion, of which more than $30 billion goes to Pentagon agencies," including the DIA, NSA, and NIMA. "An estimated $4.7 billion will go to the CIA, and the rest to the FBI and the State, Treasury and Homeland Security departments."

The committee also called on NSA "to end resistance to sharing raw data, much of which it has no time to process, with analysts from other intelligence agencies." In addition, NSA's "acquisition of large, expensive signals intelligence systems was described as needing oversight. 'The lack of a fundamentally sound acquisition process . . . raises concerns with respect to the efficiency and execution of major acquisitions,' the report said."

Shane, Scott. "Excessive Caution Kept NSA Passive." Baltimore Sun, 23 Jul. 2004. [http://www.baltimoresun.com]

"The 9/11 Commission Report portrays the National Security Agency before the terrorist attacks as 'almost obsessive' in protecting its intelligence-gathering methods, passive in following up on clues and excessively cautious about sharing communications intercepts with other agencies."

Little, Robert. "NSA Methods Lag in Age of Terror." Baltimore Sun, 9 Dec. 2004. [http://www.baltimoresun.com]

According to analysts, "[t]he code-breaking and 'signals intelligence' work that the NSA does best -- rooted in complex mathematics and linguistic dexterity -- will never go out of style as long as nation-based threats such as North Korea and Iran exist.... But it is far less vital against an enemy that sleeps in caves and cellars, and communicates in whispers."

Kamen, Al. "Alexander Named to Run NSA." Washington Post, 6 Jul. 2005, A15. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Army Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander has been nominated by President Bush for assignment as Director, National Security Agency, and Chief, Central Security Service, Fort Meade.

Risen, James, and Eric Lichtblau. "Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts." New York Times, 16 Dec. 2005, 1, 22.

According to government officials, President Bush signed a presidential order in 2002 that authorizes NSA "to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying.... [S]ome officials familiar with the continuing operation have questioned whether the surveillance has stretched, if not crossed, constitutional limits on legal searches."

Lichtblau, Eric, and James Risen. "Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report." New York Times, 24 Dec. 2005. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to current and former government officials, NSA "has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States" as part of the eavesdropping program approved by President Bush. The officials said that NSA "has gained the cooperation" of U.S. telecommunications companies "to obtain backdoor access [via the switches that act as gateways] to streams of domestic and international communications.... Some officials describe the program as a large data-mining operation."

Associated Press. "Spy Agency Removes Illegal Tracking Files." 29 Dec. 2005. [http://www.nytimes.com]

NSA.has been placing files, known as cookies, on the computers of visitors to the agency's Web site "despite strict federal rules banning most files of that type." Cookies can track the Web surfing activity of an affected computer. The cookies "disappeared" after complaints by privacy activist Daniel Brandt and inquiries by Associated Press. NSA "officials acknowledged [on 29 December 2005] that they had made a mistake."

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