NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY

Signals Intelligence (SIGINT)

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Click for materials dealing with U.S.-Chinese cooperation in Sigint activities.

Hanyok, Robert J. Spartans in Darkness: American SIGINT and the Indochina War, 1945-1975. Ft. George Meade, MD: National Security Agency, Center for Cryptologic History, 2002. [http://www.fas.org/irp/nsa/spartans/]

Aftergood, Secrecy News, 7 Jan. 2008, notes that this work is "an exhaustive history of American signals intelligence (SIGINT) in the Vietnam War.... Hanyok[] writes in a lively, occasionally florid style that is accessible even to those who are not well-versed in the history of SIGINT or Vietnam." See also, Peter Grier, "Declassified Study Puts Vietnam Events in New Light," Christian Science Monitor, 9 Jan. 2008.

Herskovitz, Don. "A Sampling of SIGINT Systems." Journal of Electronic Defense EW Reference and Source Guide Supplement, Jan. 1998, 30-36. Journal of Electronic Defense, Jul. 1998, 51-59.

The author outlines the components of a SIGINT system, and lists some 80 SIGINT-related systems produced by U.S., French, Italian, Israeli, German, and British companies.

Keefe, Patrick Radden. Chatter: Dispatches From the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping. New York: Random House, 2005.

Bamford, Washington Post, 20 Feb, 2005, finds that the author "does a wonderful job of exploring ... the role of ... signals intelligence..., in the post-Cold War world.... Keefe's style alternates from breezy to academic." To Kruh, Cryptologia 29.3 (Jul. 2005), this is "a bold and distinctive book, part detective story, part travelogue, part essay on paranoia and secrecy in the digital age." The author is "an excellent writer," and has produced "a book that is important and also enjoyable."

For Grimes, NYT, 2 Mar. 2005, Chatter is "a beginner's guide to the world of electronic espionage and the work of the National Security Agency." The author "writes, crisply and entertainingly, as an interested private citizen rather than an expert." The work is "filled with anecdotes, colorful quotes and arresting statistics." To Kahn, Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), this is a "well-written survey of government and private eavesdropping."

Powers, NYRB 52.8 (12 May 2005), says that this work "contains a lot of information" about the "names of bases and organizations, descriptions of technologies used for collecting information, [and] a sketchy outline history of the Anglophone alliance beginning in 1946 with the original British and American agreement." Although Chatter "is written with fluid grace and disciplined structure, in truth it does not add much hard new information."

Lum, Zachary. "COMINT Goes to Cell Hell." Journal of Electronic Defense, Jun. 1998, 35-41ff.

"Wireless communications may soon achieve everyday household status, worldwide. For the communications-intelligence (COMINT) trade, this could be one of the greatest boons born[] of the commercial telecommunications revolution. Or it could be one of the greatest banes. Or it could be both. Opinion seems to vary from expert to expert."

McConnell, J. M. [VADM/USN (Ret.)] "The Future of SIGINT: Opportunities and Challenges in the Information Age." Defense Intelligence Journal 9, no. 2 (Summer 2000): 39-49.

The former DIRNSA argues that major investments in capabilities and "[d]ramatically new approaches, legal authorities, and thinking" are needed in order to effectively utilize SIGINT in the Information Age.

Munsin, Alden V. "Automating Signals Intelligence." In Beyond Expectations -- Building an American National Reconnaissance Capability: Recollections of the Pioneers and Founders of National Reconnaissance, ed. Robert A. McDonald, 139-145. Bethesda, MD: American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 2002.

Naftali, Timothy J. Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism. New York: Basic Books, 2005.

See Max Holland, "The Historian as Hustler: How the 9/11 Commission Spent $25,000 on a Footnote," Washington Decoded, 11 Mar. 2010 [http://www.washingtondecoded.com/site/2010/03/the-historian-as-hustler.html#more], for an unflattering look at the background of this book. K.C. Johnson, "Holland, Naftali, and the Wisdom of Discretion," History News Network, 22 Mar. 2010 [http://www.hnn.us/articles/124672.html], responds to this article. Holland's rejoinder "K.C. Johnson Missed the Point About Naftali,"History News Network, 23 Mar. 2010 is at: http://www.hnn.us/articles/124755.html.

To Powers, NYRB 52.8 (12 May 2005), this work constitutes "a kind of naturalist's ramble around the fenced perimeter of the whole vast establishment of technical gear used for intercepting communications." For Crenshaw, FA 84.4 (Jul.-Aug. 2005), the author has produced an "admirably straightforward narrative." The work provides "a rich chronological analysis that allows for comparisons across different administrations and demonstrates that the shortcomings of the country's counterterrorism policy are long standing." Although Naftali's "suggestions are sensible, not all are practical."

Peake, Studies 50.1 (Mar. 2006), notes that this history of U.S. counterterrorism policy was originally written for the 9/11 Commission but was issued commercially when it was not released together with the Commission's report. The author's "attempt to link America's initial contacts with terrorism to World War II and the early Cold War is ... force-fitting contemporary terms to past events where they do not apply." The reviewer finds "curious" Naftali's "interpretation of intelligence history and how it relates to contemporary counterterrorism."

Pike, Christopher Anson. "CANYON, RHYOLITE, and AQUACADE: U.S. Signals Intelligence Satellites in the 1970s." Spaceflight 37, no. 11 (Nov. 1995): 381-383.

Price, Alfred. The History of U.S. Electronic Warfare: The Renaissance Years, 1946 to 1964. Vol. II. Alexandria, VA: Association of Old Crows, 1989.

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]

According to multiple sources, "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 -- 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.

Visner, Samuel S. "e-SIGINT in an Age of Transformation." Defense Intelligence Journal 9, no. 2 (Summer 2000): 51-62.

The author discusses how the experience of industry relates to the development of an acquisition strategy that can bring about an e-SIGINT capability.

Wiley, Richard G. Electronic Intelligence: The Analysis of Radar Signals. 2d ed. Norwood, MA: Artech House, 1993. [Surveillant 3.4/5]

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