Inside the NSA: Peeling back the curtain on America’s intelligence agency

Whether you love it or loathe it, there is no intelligence service anywhere in the world comparable to America’s massive electronic eavesdropping organisation, the National Security Agency (NSA).Virtually every news story ever written about NSA focuses to one degree or another on the seemingly impenetrable shroud of secrecy that surrounds all aspects of the agency’s operations, which to many outside observers gives the it a more than somewhat sinister quality.NSA does indeed try very hard to keep the specifics of what it does as secret as possible because, as any retired or current-serving cryptologist will tell you, electronic eavesdropping can only work if its operations are conducted in absolute secrecy so that the other side does not know what radio frequencies, e-mail links, or computer terminals you are tapping. Which is why the recent disclosures about some (but not all) of the agency’s most sensitive electronic eavesdropping programs have come as such a jolt to officials. see:Edward Snowden shows evolution of smuggling secrets
Sure, Edward Snowden just used a simple thumb drive to smuggle classified information out of the National Security Agency.But one look at the sprawling NSA compound where he is believed to have worked in the mountains of central Oahu — with its chain-link fences and barbed wire, massive entrance gates and “Keep out” signs — raises the question of how even a trusted employee with a high-level security clearance could sneak out even an innocuous piece of equipment.The hulking tan building was dedicated with great fanfare in January 2012, a $358-million project that the NSA boasted in a news release would “help to further integrate national security efforts.” The Capt. Joseph J. Rochefort Building replaced a World War II facility nicknamed “the Tunnels” for its warren of underground work space.,0,119650.story

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