December 4, 2012

Pictures at the NSA's 60th anniversary

Last month, on November 4, 2012, the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States celebrated it's 60th anniversary. The NSA is one of the world's largest intelligence agencies, responsible for gathering foreign signals intelligence and protecting domestic communications.

For this diamond anniversary, NSA published a full color illustrated publication (available here in PDF) with an interesting overview of its history. In this booklet there are also nice pictures, some of them unseen until now:

President George H.W. Bush using a secure Motorola STU-III telephone.
Such a phone was placed everywhere where the president stayed during a travel,
so he was able to always place secure calls. This purpose is also indicated
by the plate below the phone. It's not clear what the white device is for.
This black Motorola STU-III still served in this function, when president George W. Bush
was calling during his stay at the elementary school on September 11, 2001.
(Photo: NSA - Click for a bigger version)

The new National Security Operations Center (NSOC) at the NSA
This center was established in 1968 as the National SIGINT Watch Center (NSWC)
and renamed into National SIGINT Operations Center (NSOC) in 1973.
This "nerve center of the NSA" got its current name in 1996.
(Photo: NSA - Click for a bigger version)

The NSA/CSS Threat Operations Center (NTOC) at the NSA
From left to right we see a black STE secure phone, an unidentified,
but quite common black phone, and a white Nortel M3904 phone,
which is connected to the NSA Secure Telephone System (NSTS).
(Photo: NSA - Click for a bigger version)

Many more new pictures and also newly declassified documents can be found via the timeline at the 60th anniversary-page on the NSA-website!

Earlier this year, NSA also cooperated with the National Geographic Channel in making what is said to be the first documentary about this agency since the 9/11 attacks in 2001:

With a close look at this video, we can recognize a number of different telephone systems used at the NSA. Some of them we already mentioned here earlier, more of them we will discuss sometimes later on at this weblog.

Update January 12, 2014:

After the Snowden-scandal, a new television report with some unique insights into the NSA was broadcasted in the CBS 60 Minutes show on December 15, 2013.

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In Dutch: Meer over het wetsvoorstel voor de Tijdelijke wet cyberoperaties