Talk:National Security Agency/Archive 4

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4

NSA and Congress

WhisperToMe (talk) 06:52, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Invitation to help craft a proposal

Surveillance awareness day is a proposal for the English Wikipedia to take special steps to promote awareness of global surveillance on February 11, 2014. That date is chosen to coincide with similar actions being taken by organizations such as Mozilla, Reddit, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Feedback from editors of this article would be greatly appreciated. Please come join us as we brainstorm, polish, and present this proposal to the Wikipedia Community. --HectorMoffet (talk) 12:30, 18 January 2014 (UTC)

New lead

I have semi-protected the article. Those wishing to insert this new lead, please make your case here for its being neutral and supported by references. Yngvadottir (talk) 13:43, 26 January 2014 (UTC)

There is a spelling error the subheading "Scope of surveillance" in the "History" section of this article. The second sentence of paragraph three reads: "The NSA supplies domestic intercepts to the DEA, IRS and other law enforcement agencies, who use these to intitiate criminal investigations against US citizens." The word "intitiate" should be changed to "initiate". [Unregistered] 18:13, 29 January 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Got it, thanks, sorry about the protection. Yngvadottir (talk) 18:22, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

N.S.A. Director

The Obama administration recently announced that the new Director of the National Security Agency and the commander of the new Pentagon unit will be Vice Admiral Michael S. Rogers. General Alexander decided to retire and Admiral Rogers was the leading candidate to succeed him with far more experience. Before taking this new position, he must be confirmed by the Senate. Here is the article I found the information at [1]. Once this can be confirmed and he begins serving, we should update the content on the page. I'm posting on the talk page so we can keep an eye out on it. Let me hear your thoughts. Thanks. Meatsgains (talk) 22:17, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 30 January 2014

I have found an declassified document from the NSA to incoming President Bush titled "Transition 2001" (

Interestingly, in the "Major Policy Issues" section of the document the issue of rethinking 4th amendment rights in light of changing SIGINT from analog technologies to electronic technologies is identified as a major issue for the NSA. This is before there was much public attention or awareness on the issue of collection of data from U.S. citizens. It would seem to fit within section 1.7.2 Legal accountability or 5.1 Criticism. The edit would go something like:

"The declassified document "Transition 2001" makes clear the NSA identified that the changing nature of SIGINT would require not only care on the part of the intelligence organization, but a rethinking of policy and constitutional rights surrounding the collection of data. In regard to the fourth amendment, it is stated that the "Information Age will however cause us to rethink and reapply the procedures, policies and authorities born in an earlier electronic surveillance environment". Indeed many of the recent criticisms of the NSA surround the challenge of collecting electronic data while protecting fourth amendment rights."

Kmws48 (talk) 00:30, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Hmm. That's very much a primary source (and I'm not sure of either its authenticity or the legality of its display online). I'm inclined to perform the edit, since the article is only semi-protected and therefore any confirmed editor can revert it back out, but there's no big rush, so can we hear from others on this, please? Yngvadottir (talk) 17:10, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia has an article about the Web site, National Security Archive and has [2] 130 links to documents on the site. US government publications are usually in the public domain; taking a glance at this one, I didn't see any copyrighted material. After declassification, documents are no longer considered secret...unless they are reclassified. In principle documents such as this can be verified by requesting a copy. —rybec 22:35, 30 January 2014 (UTC)
Agree it is a primary source, so shouldn't be added, however the semi-protection has now expired.... Arjayay (talk) 17:58, 2 February 2014 (UTC)

Can someone please update the numbers?

There are 107,000+ employees spending $52.6 billion, not those "classified" guess numbers showing on the article page. Here's the reference: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:21, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 21 February 2014

please let me edit (talk) 18:55, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Not done: requests for decreases to the page protection level should be directed to the protecting admin or to Wikipedia:Requests for page protection if the protecting admin is not active or has declined the request. — {{U|Technical 13}} (tec) 19:20, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Bruce Scheier opinion: Break up NSA?

This is Bruce Scheier's opinion WhisperToMe (talk) 09:22, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 1 April 2014

I am a student who has been working on a project on the history of the National Security Agency. I have been researching this project for the past few months, and believe I have thorough research on this topic. As a requirement for my project is to showcase my work digitally, and I have been approved to use Wikipedia, I would really appreciate if I would be given access to page. Below I am giving a draft, of my work so far:

The National Security Agency has helped the United States in many ways. Some instances include World War II, and the Cold War. Although the NSA was not officially an organization back then, codebreaking in World War II lead to the creation of NSA. After World War II, the NSA was made so that threats like Pearl Harbor would not happen again. By explaining how codebreaking was used to our advantage in World War II, it is in a way explaining how the National Security Agency helped during that time period. In 1949, AFSA (Armed Forces Security Agency) was created for these cryptologic purposes.

In a way AFSA, was the previous NSA. As it was just created, most of AFSA’s existence was “spent negotiating with the services what it could do,”(Burner, 60). The flaws in the organization were not clear until the Cold War. The Cold War was the relationship between the United States and Soviet Union after World War II, and many conflicts were a part of this war, such as the Korean War. With AFSA being a preceding National Security Agency, the NSA has helped in the Cold War to some extent.

In World War II, the Allies had to fight against the Axis-Powers, Japan, Germany and Italy. Codebreaking helped against Germany, to help prevent further attacks. The Germans “entrusted bomber-target information to the insecure Air Force Enigma” (Army, 3). It was unknown to them how cryptographers could easily decipher their information, and this lead to their defeat. Without the work of these cryptographers, the Germans would not have experienced such significant losses, such as in Africa, and would be much harder to defeat. Because of the ability of cryptographers in the 1940s, the National Security Agency was created. So that the work of the past could be applied to the future. Without the so-called spying of the army, the Allies may not have prevailed against the Axis Powers.

When the United States found out that Japan was about to surrender, plans about the areas near the country, but a problem was what Korea’s status would be. The United States decided that the country would be divided, with Americans one side and the Soviet Union the other. Afterwards, when the “Koreans would be prepared for self-rule, both armies would withdraw,” (Hatch). Cryptology was used during this time period for numerous reasons, one pertaining the United States was finding the "greatest concern to U.S. policy or security.” In regards to North Korea and South Korea, the main uses were "Soviet activities in North Korea," "North Korean-Chinese Communist Relations," and "North Korean-South Korean relations,”(Hatch).

My Works Cited is a Work in progress, but I intend to fully cite all of the sources I have used so far and will use. Thank You for taking the time to read my request, and again I would appreciate you granting me access.

Psaha9130 (talk) 13:05, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

Not done: please provide reliable sources that support the change you want to be made. — {{U|Technical 13}} (tec) 02:24, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

An improved first line?

At present: The National Security Agency (NSA) is a U.S. intelligence agency responsible for the production and management of signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance for the United States government.

Although there are links for "signals intelligence" and "information assurance" it might be best to keep it simple and provide jargon and links later in the intro.

Suggested: The National Security Agency (NSA) provides the U.S. Government with cryptographic services that encompasses the interception of and breaking of encrypted communications ([signals intelligence]) and the encription of communications ([information assurance]), in order to provide the nation with an intelligence advantage.

Coordinate error


The following coordinate fixes are needed for (talk) 04:56, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

Not done. You haven't explained what you think is wrong, and the coordinates currently in the article appear to be correct. If you still think they are erroneous, please post a clear explanation of what you think needs correction below, including the {{geodata-check}} template above the message, and someone will address your concern. Deor (talk) 09:45, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

PBS video - FRONTLINE: United States Of Secrets

FRONTLINE: United States Of Secrets video: XOttawahitech (talk) 13:59, 14 May 2014 (UTC)

Has anyone discovered part 2 yet? Thanks in advance, XOttawahitech (talk) 20:20, 16 May 2014 (UTC)

Boomerang Routing

Greetings, I've added a sentence to the summary and a small section to the international section on boomerang routing - an important new area of research into the NSA's surveillance activities. I see we've been going back and forth on the summary a bit. Two points: 1) We should keep the domestic phone point separate from the international internet data point as coupling these two ideas together suggests a direct connection (which is an oversimplification) and also reads awkwardly. 2) I'd also appreciate you leaving in the citation that I added, which refers to peer-reviewed and published academic research in the area. Why remove a good citation? It only improves the quality of the article. The more the better! Thanks. --Jaobar (talk) 15:11, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

The lede should not have citations; it would be better for those that are already there to be removed. The function of the lede is to summarize what follows in the rest of the article, and this is in any case a very short point, so there's really no reason to have it cited in the lede as well as the body. So I request you self-revert your readdition of the cite in the lede. Also, you initially linked boomerang routing - if you believe it merits an article, do go ahead and write one, then the link can be readded (but "routing" should not be capitalised). Yngvadottir (talk) 16:12, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for your comment; however, your point about not having citations in the lede appears to generally be incorrect, based on my knowledge of general practice on Wikipedia. You appear to be a far more experienced editor than I am, so I'm surprised that I'm having to make this argument. Even the Banana article, which we use as a model in class, has citations in the lede, so I'm not quite sure where this is coming from. I have also reviewed some of the feature articles on Wikiproject Medicine, and the practice of citing in the lede is seen there. As I've already stated, citations increase the credibility of an article, so unless excessive citation is creating an awkward reading experience, I don't see your point at all. I'm shocked that I'm having to justify the use of an academic citation! Furthermore, as I'm sure you know the majority of readers only look at the lede, so having a citation next to a contentious point is a good thing. I will not remove the citation unless you can point me to a Wikipedia policy that suggests otherwise. Unless you can do this, I see no justification for your removal, based on policy. If, by chance, you are concerned that I am citing a study that I myself have authored, please do say so; however, as far as I know, this practice is encouraged. --Jaobar (talk) 21:41, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
It's not about the quality of the citation, let alone who wrote it, and I'm surprised you keep putting it that way - the reference is entirely appropriate in the relevant section. WP:LEADCITE is the relevant guidance, and as I read it boils down to: the lede should rarely require citations, because the material is going to be presented in detail below. That also applies to your point about readers' habits: anyone interested in reading more, including seeing what the source was for a particular piece of information, can look in the relevant section of the article itself. What's normally done is to have a reference on something that doesn't appear in the body (such as birth and death dates) or, as the guidance page says, something particularly likely to be challenged - that's probably why there are citations in the lede of this article. But I do not believe this particular point is contentious enough for that to apply. Yngvadottir (talk) 22:34, 3 June 2014 (UTC)


Lock this page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:52, 16 August 2014 (UTC)


The archiving bot was set up so as to archive everything to Archive 35, with a max size of 1000Kb (!), leaving only the very last thread, and with no link from this page to the archive page. I have changed the parameters, manually created Archives 1 through 4, moved out some old threads that were not time-stamped, and moved two more recent threads back in. Unfortunately, Talk:National Security Agency/Archive 35 still exists. That may cause technical problems in ten years or so. Scolaire (talk) 09:45, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

National Security Agency

National as the name say but the article do not say much which nation control the agency. Please update. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:02, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

Just look:

The National Security Agency (NSA) is a (1) U.S. intelligence agency responsible for global monitoring, collection, decoding, translation and analysis of information and data (2)for foreign intelligence and (etc)

  • 1 where it spy
  • 2 for who it spy - the 2 as we know is. unspicable. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:11, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
Same IP for both comments, so I'm not sure whether the second is an answer to the first? "U.S." is, as you quote, specified right at the start, and that would be the "nation" referred to in the name. Yngvadottir (talk) 12:09, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
If Alice spy on Bob it do not mean Alice spy for Bob. The goute say for who: for foreign intelligence but is silent which nation - is. As they spy also on US highest governing body US Congress] - so knowing NSA is Alice and Bob US - do thealice spy on bob or for bob. The article opening sentence need to be changed acording to logic, semantic and sources. (talk) 19:36, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I'm not sure I understand. It says it's a US agency; therefore it spies on behalf of the US, and that's the nation referred to in the name. Who it spies on does not change that. Yngvadottir (talk) 19:51, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
I think you're misinterpreting the first sentence. For foreign intelligence means "to gain intelligence on foreigners", not "to gain intelligence on behalf of foreigners". Maybe it could be clarified. Brycehughes (talk) 20:10, 25 October 2014 (UTC)

Equation Group

I've reverted the section on the Equation Group, which is speculation reported as fact in Wikipedia's voice. It gives undue weight to a poorly-reported rumor, which is supported by a single source in specialized media. I'd argue the individual article fails WP:NOTE as well on the basis of rumor and limited reporting. Acroterion (talk) 13:02, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

@Acroterion: Especially on a politically fraught article like this, I believe Thue is wrong and we should not expect the reader to click through to a linked Wikipedia article to find references. However, since they did later provide good refs for both changes, for the moment I've covered those refs so it's easier to see what they are. I have no ability to judge the validity of the Equation Group assertion, but the source cited is a long, detailed article in a respected tech blog. And since it was only published yesterday, limited reporting may be premature as a judgement. But I suggest you AfD that article if you have strong feelings about its notability; after a week with others looking for sources, it will also be clearer whether we should be featuring the allegation here. (Fixed ping). Yngvadottir (talk) 16:28, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
From the reference: "researchers stopped short of saying Equation Group was the handiwork of the NSA—but they provided detailed evidence that strongly implicates the US spy agency." That's a pretty sketchy basis for inclusion of this theory, rumor, guess or whatever it is in the main article on the NSA. The subarticle is a little better sourced, but we're not a news source and unless other media pick up on this and flesh it out, it's premature at least to include here. I'm inclined to hold off on AfD for the subarticle to see what develops. Acroterion (talk) 17:57, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps the world's leading security expert, Bruce Schneier says that Equation Group is "almost certainly the NSA". Reuters has an anonymous source from inside the NSA confirming. That is certainly enough for us to mention it in this article as a theory. As for holding an afd about a subject which has such a solid grounding and has been so widely covered in the news, it is your right, but I predict you would make yourself look like a fool. Thue (talk) 19:35, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Schneier's article was only published today, and draws on the Reuters report. As I said above, it's premature to assess the amount of coverage. However, Thue, can I get you to add things like this only with a reference from now on? Editors - and more importantly readers - need the references to assess additions and to read more about the issue if they wish. IMO you'd have not been reverted if you had referenced the material from the start. Yngvadottir (talk) 20:26, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Leaving aside the unhelpful personalization of reasonable criticism of this addition, several concerns remain:
  • Why is this stated in Wikipedia's voice when it should be appropriately attributed to those whose opinions the statement reflects, i.e., Schneier? I would use as a model the article on Stuxnet (which quotes Schneier), which appropriately attributes and handles speculative statements. Equation Group attributes it (now) right up front, as it should.
  • I've seen other accounts of Kapersky's report, which omit the NSA speculation such as this one [3], which would imply that speculation on the source is not central to the report or to reporting on the Kaspersky report, borne out by the quote I posted above from ArsTechnica. The title of the Zdnet article, at least, is "Equation 'most advanced' cybercriminal gang recorded", not NSA = Equation. On the other hand, Wired speculates in greater depth [4] specifically about NSA involvement. The key word here is "speculates."
  • I think the subarticle is safe from a deletion discussion on the basis of GNG, there's been enough coverage in enough sources. A number of editors have fleshed out the quick stub and appropriately attributed the NSA theory, something that's absent here.
  • If this is to be attributed and kept, it needs a better home than its present somewhat random placement. Acroterion (talk) 00:59, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  • It was quite obvious and assumed widely across the industry that NSA was behind, so I saw no reason for a specific attribution - the reference on this article in the respectable Ars Technica explicitly voiced the suspicion. People can click through to the article for more details about who thinks what. As for the placement in this article, suggestions are welcome. Thue (talk) 18:09, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Recruitment video

There's a recruitment video here if it has any value Victor Grigas (talk) 16:43, 2 April 2015 (UTC)

Suggested correction

O you got his location and let's try to find some memories to share 2600:100D:B01A:D538:0:0:0:103 (talk) 08:08, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

June 2015: WikiLeaks published documents, that shows NSA spied French companies: industrial espionage

NSA spied French companies: industrial espionage.

Tuizhg (talk) 22:50, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

July 2015: WikiLeaks published documents, that showed NSA spied many German federal ministries

In July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied many German telephonnumbers of German federal ministries over years since 1990s

Tuizhg (talk) 23:16, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

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satellite program to spot individuals by satellite according to aura

NSA has got a secret satellite program to spot any living individual via satellite due to individual energetical aura. They share this technology with other services. It is projected to trace individual thought patterns, too, in a soonish future. (talk) 16:46, 27 January 2016 (UTC) Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page). </ref></ref></ref></ref></ref>

Source? MPS1992 (talk) 19:41, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
Thought patterns eh? Meatsgains (talk) 19:55, 27 January 2016 (UTC)

History: What is MI-8?

What is MI-8? lt appears somewhere in the text without being introduced. (talk) 18:08, 18 September 2016 (UTC)

I've corrected the lack of information in the article, but it's referring to Black Chamber. (talk) 09:54, 2 June 2017 (UTC)

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"Hacking operations

Besides the more traditional ways of eavesdropping in order to collect signals intelligence, NSA is also engaged in hacking computers, smartphones and their networks. These operations are conducted by the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division. [...] Microsoft Windows Main article: _NSAKEY

_NSAKEY was a variable name discovered in Microsoft's Windows NT 4 Service Pack 5 (which had been released unstripped of its symbolic debugging data) in August 1999 by Andrew D. Fernandes of Cryptonym Corporation. That variable contained a 1024-bit public key."

Suggests that _NSAKEY in fact refers to a "hacking operation" which is just a conspiracy theroy.

Jwalter (talk) 16:25, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Good point. Tag added. - theWOLFchild 16:39, 23 February 2016 (UTC)
Note that NSAKEY was just a backup for the key usually used, and the name seems to have been a programmer's joke. Surely if NSA had been involved the name would not have included "NSA". — DAGwyn (talk) 08:03, 11 August 2017 (UTC)

The name "ECHELON"

We seem to be near to an edit war with respect to the name "ECHELON". Duncan Campbell created the name, which was not an NSA codename, by misconstruing a few occurrences of the normal English word "echelon" in its normal meaning of "a level or rank in an organization" within a collection of (stolen or leaked) government documents. Not long afterward, I had unfettered access to NSA archives and out of curiosity I performed a similar search (limited to occurrences before 1997 when Campbell started raising a fuss). Like Campbell, I found a few uses of the word, uncapitalized, which from context were not project codenames but rather normal English usage. One "hit" was capitalized, but it turned out to a characteristic of that particular user interface to the search engine; hits were capitalized in the displayed document context to make them easier to see. (CIA had a similar facility, but it used bold font for emphasis instead of capitalization.) I found nothing prior to Campbell's articles that suggested that "ECHELON" was a codename for a global surveillance system. All subsequent claims about this supposed codeword appeared to have inherited the idea from Campbell. I mentioned this (with less detail, to protect my access) long ago in the sci.crypt Usenet newsgroup.

The edits I endeavored to make to the NSA article did not change anything except for removing the (evidently mistaken) presumption that "ECHELON" was NSA's codename for the supposed project described by Campbell. I understand that many Wikipedia editors prefer to cite biased sources (such as Campbell and his followers) rather than first-hand information that could be deemed "original research". However, further corroboration of the misuse of "ECHELON" may be obtained from Hayden's recent book, "Playing to the Edge", especially page 18. I suggest that my edits be restored, perhaps with a footnote stating that the term was not officially used by NSA, citing Hayden. — DAGwyn (talk) 06:26, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

Thank you for expanding on this. Unfortunately Hayden's involvement in the program under discussion at the time makes him pretty much a primary source too. We therefore appear to be at a point where just about all the secondary sources say that the program was called Echelon or ECHELON, but a few primary sources (you and Hayden) say that it was not. If that's the case, the best we can do is to leave the current text as it is, but to add a sentence making clear that Hayden stated categorically that there was no program called Echelon. Normally we would only add this sort of thing in a footnote, but if it is as clear-cut as you describe then I don't see it doing any harm to include it in the main body of the text. Similar wording would need to be added to the main ECHELON article to make sure we have some consistency. MPS1992 (talk) 14:25, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

Dispute of "undue transcript" claim regarding tripartisan senator/DNI exchanges

This section is to address the deletion of the description of Q&A messages between US Senators and the Director of National Intelligence as described by Senator Ron Wyden in his Senate address on December 27, 2012. Acroterion deleted this contribution to this article on 17 August 2017‎. Acroterion, please explain your 'undue transcript' claim. How is the contribution below, taken from the transcript of the recording of Senator Ron Wyden undue?

Disputed Contribution: As explained by Senator Ron Wyden[1]: The job of Congress is to make sure that the laws they pass uphold the rights of individual Americans and maintain national security. The job of the Intelligence Community is to follow the laws that Congress lays down as they collect intelligence. The below are the questions that US Senators asked the Director of National Intelligence over an extended period of time. Their goal was to receive a minimum amount of information necessary for them to do their jobs in overseeing the Intelligence Community. These sequences of events were described by Senator Ron Wyden in his December 27, 2012 floor discussion on the FISA Amendments Act.[1]

  • Question 1 (Ron Wyden and Mark Udall): Roughly how many phone calls and e-mails that are to and from Americans have been swept up by the government under the FISA authority? Director's answer: It is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed under the authority of the FISA Amendments Act.
  • Question 2 (tripartisan): Please give us even a rough estimate for Question 1. Is it hundreds? Is it hundreds of thousands? Is it millions? The director declined to publicly respond.
  • Question 3 (tripartisan): Has anyone else ever done such an estimate? The director declined to publicly respond.
  • Question 4 (tripartisan): Were any wholly domestic US communications swept up under the FISA Amendments Act? The director declined to publicly respond.
  • Question 5 (tripartisan): Has the Intelligence Community ever deliberately conducted a warrantless search of the phone calls or e-mails of specific Americans? The director declined to publicly respond. (talk) 23:22, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

Encyclopedia articles don't include transcripts from Cspan: we are a tertiary source that uses secondary sources to establish weight. The transcript is a primary source with no context. This appears to be part of a pattern of edits that had earlier involved obvious BLP violations - at present it is unclear what the point of this transcript is - a bare transcript is inapprorpiate in any article unless there is something singular about the exchange the justifies an extended quote, as established by secondary sources. Acroterion (talk) 23:28, 17 August 2017 (UTC)

Acroterion, this is very informative. Perhaps there are one more more secondary sources related to this content. (talk) 03:00, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

How is it informative? What is its context? Why is it important that it be included to such length? Acroterion (talk) 03:04, 18 August 2017 (UTC)

Clarification: Your feedback above is informative. Thank you. (talk) 03:19, 18 August 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ a b "Senate consideration of H.R. 5949, the FISA bill". 27 December 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2017.