National Security Agency, NSA (United States)

(From Top World  Intelligence Agencies)

Once upon a time Washingtonians said NSA stood for “No Such Agency.” Now NSA is 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. Its budget in 2014  was $10.8 billion.

NSA was founded in 1952 by combining the cryptological components of the Army, Air Force, and Navy.  After the attacks on September 11, 2001, the USA Patriot Act and the Bush administration vastly expanded NSA’s collection activities.

In 2013, Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, orchestrated the largest leak in NSA history giving news reporters a trove of documents that detailed the agency’s surveillance operations at home and abroad. The Snowden documents showed NSA had received user data from Verizon and other telecommunications companies and eavesdropped on 38 embassies and missions, including those of European allies.

In October 2016, NSA joined CIA and FBI in finding that Russian state actors were seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election.

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