Surveillance Apparatus • No Such Agency


No Such Agency

Once upon a time Washingtonians said NSA stood for “No Such Agency.” Now NSA is well-known yet still widely regarded as the most secretive of all U.S intelligence agencies. It is responsible for collecting signals intelligence such as email, texts, telephone calls and radio and TV communications. NSA’s annual budget as of 2014 was $10.8 billion.

The U.S. government’s efforts to collect, decipher, and interpret electrical communications began in 1917, with the creation of the Cipher Bureau which supported the U.S. war on Germany. During World War II, the Signal Intelligence Service (SIS) was created to intercept and decipher the communications of the Axis powers. With the onset of the Cold War with the Soviet Union and the war in Korea, the government’s signal intelligence operations were consolidated in the newly-created National Security Agency in 1952.

Based in Arlington Hall, formerly a girls’ school in northern Virginia…

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