Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Some helpful NSA history

Bruce Schneier has a summary of Project Shamrock, a secret NSA program that collected massive amounts of data on US citizens' communications to and from the United States. The primary difference between Project Shamrock and the NSA program Bush is currently justifying is that Project Shamrock began in the 1950's and collected telegrams, not phone calls or internet communications.

Here's an excerpt from Schneier's post:
A lot of people are trying to say that it's a different world today, and that eavesdropping on a massive scale is not covered under the FISA statute, because it just wasn't possible or anticipated back then. That's a lie. Project Shamrock began in the 1950s, and ran for about twenty years. It too had a massive program to eavesdrop on all international telegram communications, including communications to and from American citizens. It too was to counter a terrorist threat inside the United States. It too was secret, and illegal. It is exactly, by name, the sort of program that the FISA process was supposed to get under control.
(via a post in Pharyngula's comments)

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