Thursday, September 26, 2013

NSA Spying on Individuals Not New

"Disreputable if Not Outright Illegal": The National Security Agency versus Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, Art Buchwald, Frank Church, et al.
Newly Declassified History Divulges Names of Prominent Americans Targeted by NSA during Vietnam Era
Declassification Decision by Interagency Panel Releases New Information on the Berlin Crisis, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Panama Canal Negotiations
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 441

Posted – September 25, 2013

Washington, D.C., September 25, 2013 – During the height of the Vietnam War protest movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the National Security Agency tapped the overseas communications of selected prominent Americans, most of whom were critics of the war, according to a recently declassified NSA history. For years those names on the NSA's watch list were secret, but thanks to the decision of an interagency panel, in response to an appeal by the National Security Archive, the NSA has released them for the first time. The names of the NSA's targets are eye-popping. Civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King and Whitney Young were on the watch list, as were the boxer Muhammad Ali, New York Times journalist Tom Wicker, and veteran Washington Post humor columnist Art Buchwald. Also startling is that the NSA was tasked with monitoring the overseas telephone calls and cable traffic of two prominent members of Congress, Senators Frank Church (D-Idaho) and Howard Baker (R-Tennessee).

The NSA history, American Cryptology during the Cold War, is a multi-volume study that covers the intersection of secret communications intelligence with Cold War history. The National Security Archive filed the initial mandatory declassification review request for the histories in 2006. The next year, when the NSA denied significant information from the histories the Archive filed an appeal. The Agency declassified more information in 2008 and the Archive posted the first three volumes on its Web site in 2008, with commentary by Matthew Aid. The NSA had denied so much, however, that the Archive filed a final appeal with the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) that same year. Book I remains under appeal. Five years after the Archive's appeal, the ISCAP has compelled the NSA to release more information from Books II and III.

The July 2013 ISCAP release protected many NSA secrets, such as its role in arms control verification and most of the discussion dealing with sensitive communications intelligence (COMINT). Nevertheless, the ISCAP declassified some new and surprising information: read more>>>

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