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Government

New Report On NSA Released Today 81

daveschroeder writes "George Washington University has today released a three-volume history of NSA activities during the Cold War (major highlights). Written by agency historian Thomas R. Johnson, the 1,000-page report, 'Cryptology During the Cold War, 1945-1989,' details some of the agency's successes and failures, its conflict with other intelligence agencies, and the questionable legal ground on which early American cryptologists worked. The report remained classified for years, until Johnson mentioned it to Matthew Aid, an intelligence historian, at an intelligence conference. Two years later, an abstract and the three current volumes of the report are now available (PDF) from GWU and the National Security Archive. Aid, author of the forthcoming history 'The Secret Sentry: The Top Secret History of the National Security Agency,' says Johnson's study shows 'refreshing openness and honesty, acknowledging both the NSA's impressive successes and abject failures during the Cold War.' A fourth volume remains classified. Johnson says in an audio interview: 'If you are performing an operation that violates a statute like FISA, it's going to come out. It always comes out.'" And reader sampas zooms in on a section in Document 6 about the growth of NSA's IT: their first Cray purchase in 1976, the growth of circuits between facilities, and internal feuds over centralized IT development vs. programmers-in-departments. "A young systems engineer named [redacted] was urging NSA to look at some technology that had been developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). In 1969 DARPA had developed a computer internetting system called ARPANET... NSA quickly adopted the DARPA solution. The project was called platform."

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