1952 November 4

National Security Agency (NSA) Begins Operation


The National Security Agency (NSA), created on October 24, 1952, began operating on this day. The agency remained highly secretive and was referred to by insiders as “No Such Agency.” The head of the NSA, for example, did not testify before Congress until October 29, 1975, as part of the Senate Church Committee investigation into abuses by the intelligence agencies.

The NSA is notorious today for the illegal wiretaps ordered by President George W. Bush and exposed by The New York Times on December 16, 2005. 

Even greater illegal spying by the NSA was exposed on June 5, 2013, by documents leaked to selected journalists by former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden. The revelations from the Snowden-related documents led to the intelligence reform law on June 2, 2015 which marked the first time Congress actually scaled back U.S. intelligence gathering.

Read about the NSA: James Bamford, The Shadow Factory: The NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America (2008)

The super-secret NSA has a web site: http://www.nsa.gov/

Learn about the 2013 Snowden revelations: Luke Harding, The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man (2014)

Learn more: Dana Priest and William Arkin, Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State (2012)

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