National Security Agency
The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), established by a memorandum dated October 24, 1952, by President Harry S. Truman, is "the organization within the U.S. Government responsible for communications intelligence (COMINT) activities." 
The NSA had been placing files called "cookies" on visitors' computers to track internet surfing activity "despite strict federal rules banning most of them," the Associated Press's Anick Jesdanun reported December 29, 2005. Following a privacy activist's complaint, the NSA acknowledged a mistake but "the issue raises questions about privacy at a spy agency already on the defensive amid reports of a secretive eavesdropping program in the United States."
"Until Tuesday [December 17th], the NSA site created two cookies that do not expire until 2035--likely beyond the life of any computer in use today," Jesdanun wrote.
The NSA is "the Nation's cryptologic organization. It coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to protect U.S. information systems and produce foreign intelligence information. A high technology organization, NSA is on the frontiers of communications and data processing. It is also one of the most important centers of foreign language analysis and research within the Government."
- Signals Intelligence (SIGINT)
- Information Systems Security (INFOSEC) - "protecting all classified and sensitive information that is stored or sent through U.S. Government equipment."
- R&D - Research and development programs: "cryptanalytic research led to the first large-scale computer and the first solid-state computer, predecessors to the modern computer."
- NSA "employs the country's premier codemakers and codebreakers."
"Most NSA/CSS employees, both civilian and military, are headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland, centrally located between Baltimore and Washington, DC. Its workforce represents an unusual combination of specialties: analysts, engineers, physicists, mathematicians, linguists, computer scientists, researchers, as well as customer relations specialists, security officers, data flow experts, managers, administrative and clerical assistants."
- Director: Lieutenant General Michael V. Hayden
- Central Intelligence Agency
- Department of Homeland Security
- domestic spying
- Michael V. Hayden
- homeland defense
- homeland security
- National Security Council
- Operations Coordinating Board
- Russell Tice
- Wikipedia: National Security Agency.
- BBC Profile of National Security Agency.
- Defense Daily Biographies.
- National Security Agency at intelligence.gov.
- National Security Agency: "The largest and most secret of the intelligence agencies of the U.S. government, the National Security Agency (NSA), with headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, has two main functions: to protect U.S. government communications and to intercept foreign communications."
- Original Charter for the NSA.
- Matthew M. Aid, The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency (Bloomsbury Press, 2009). Review by James Bamford.
Articles & Commentary
- "A Half-Century of Surveillance," New York Times, December 16, 2005.
- James Bamford, "The Agency That Could Be Big Brother," New York Times, December 25, 2005.
- Shane Harris and Tim Naftali, "Tinker, Tailor, Miner, Spy. Why the NSA's snooping is unprecedented in scale and scope," Slate, January 3, 2006.