NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY

2010s

2013

September - December

 

Materials presented in chronological order.

Perlroth, Nicole, Jeff Larson, and Scott Shane. "N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web." New York Times, 5 Sep. 2013. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former NSA contractor, NSA "has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption ... that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world."

Shane, Scott. "Court Upbraided N.S.A. on Its Use of Call-Log Data." New York Times, 10 Sep. 2013. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Intelligence officials released secret documents on [10 September 2013] showing that a [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] judge reprimanded the National Security Agency in 2009 for violating its own procedures and misleading the nation's intelligence court about how it used the telephone call logs it gathers in the hunt for terrorists."

Savage, Charlie. "Extended Ruling by Secret Court Backs Collection of Phone Data." New York Times, 17 Sep. 2013. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 17 September 2013, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court released a previously classified opinion" in which it said that the government's keeping of "records of all Americans’ phone calls ... was constitutional and did not violate Americans' privacy rights." Judge Claire V. Eagan's opinion "also noted that no telecommunications company had invoked its legal right to object to turning over its customers’ calling records to the government."

Leiby, Richard. "Declassified Documents Show NSA Listened in on MLK, Muhammad Ali and Art Buchwald," Washington Post, 25 Sep. 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to newly declassified NSA documents released on 25 September 2013, from 1967 to 1973, NSA's Minaret program "tapped the overseas communications of war critics," including Martin Luther King Jr., Whitney Young, Muhammad Ali, Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, and journalists Art Buchwald, and Tom Wicker.

Risen, James, and Laura Poitras. "N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens." New York Times, 28 Sep. 2013. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to documents provided by Edward Snowden, NSA "began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine Americans' networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after ... officials lifted restrictions on the practice.... [A]n N.S.A. memorandum from January 2011," authorized the agency "to conduct 'large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness' of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier."

Miller, Greg, Julie Tate, and Barton Gellman. "Documents Reveal NSA's Extensive Involvement in Targeted Killing Program." Washington Post, 16 Oct. 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"[D]ocuments provided to The Washington Post by ... Edward Snowden confirm" that Hassan Ghul "was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan's tribal belt" in October 2012. They also reveal "the intricate collaboration between the CIA and the NSA in the drone campaign.... In the search for targets, the NSA has draped a surveillance blanket over dozens of square miles of northwest Pakistan. In Ghul's case, the agency deployed an arsenal of cyber-espionage tools, secretly seizing control of laptops, siphoning audio files and other messages, and tracking radio transmissions to determine where Ghul might 'bed down.'...

"NSA created a secret unit known as the Counter-Terrorism Mission Aligned Cell, or CT MAC, to concentrate the agency's vast resources on hard-to-find terrorism targets. The unit spent a year tracking Ghul and his courier network, tunneling into an array of systems and devices, before he was killed.... [F]ormer CIA officials said the files are an accurate reflection of the NSA's contribution to finding targets.... The officials said the agency has assigned senior analysts to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, and deployed others to work alongside CIA counterparts at almost every major U.S. embassy or military base overseas....

"NSA employees rarely ventured beyond ... the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, officials said. Surveillance operations that required placing a device or sensor near an al-Qaeda compound were handled by the CIA's Information Operations Center, which specializes in high-tech devices and 'close-in' surveillance work." Many of NSA's online attacks "rely on software implants developed by [its] Tailored Access Operations division with code-names such as UNITEDRAKE and VALIDATOR." Or it may "position[] itself unnoticed midstream between computers communicating with one another, diverting files for real-time alerts and longer-term analysis in data repositories."

Shane, Scott. "No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A.." New York Times, 2 Nov. 2013. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"From thousands of classified documents, the National Security Agency emerges as an electronic omnivore of staggering capabilities, eavesdropping and hacking its way around the world to strip governments and other targets of their secrets, all the while enforcing the utmost secrecy about its own operations. It spies routinely on friends as well as foes."

Harris, Shane. "Meet the Spies Doing the NSA's Dirty Work." Foreign Policy, 21 Nov. 2013. [http://www.foreignpolicy.com]

The FBI provides "a technical and legal infrastructure that permits the NSA ... to operate on U.S. soil." It "collects digital information from at least nine American technology companies as part of the NSA's Prism system." The FBI "carries out its own signals intelligence operations and is trying to collect huge amounts of email and Internet data from U.S. companies." The heart of its "signals intelligence activities is an obscure organization called the Data Intercept Technology Unit, or DITU.... [T]he unit is the FBI's equivalent of the [NSA] and the primary liaison between the spy agency and many of America's most important technology companies."

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