The NSA and Clandestine Activities #Shamrock #Minaret #Platform #COINS #SOLIS #TIDE #Carrillon

  • The NSA and Clandestine Activities #Shamrock #Minaret #Platform #COINS #SOLIS #TIDE #Carrillon

    Today we are going to reference two chapters from the book American Cryptology during the Cold War 1945-1989 from the NSA Archives.

    NSA and Clandestine Activities

    Over the years, cryptologists had participated in two activities whose legality was eventually called into question. One, codenamed #Shamrock, was a way to intercept messages without setting up intercept sites. The other, #Minaret, became enmeshed with an illegal use of information for domestic law enforcement.


    The easiest way to get access to telegrams was to get them from the cable companies which transmitted them. This method actually dated back to World War I, when the federal government, set up cable and postal censorship offices.

    In 1938, the Army’s chief signal officer, General Joseph Mauborgne, approached David Sarnoff, president of RCA, with a request from the secretary of war to renew the arrangement whereby the Army received drop copies of cable traffic.

    Who is Joespth Mauborgne?

    Mauborgne became a Major General in the United States Army, and from October 1937 to his retirement in 1941 was the Army’s 12th Chief Signal Officer, in command of the Signal Corps.

    Who is David Sarnoff?

    He ruled over an ever-growing telecommunications and media empire that included both RCA and NBC, and became one of the largest companies in the world.

    Cable company officials argued that the Federal Communications Act of 1934 appeared to make this illepl in peacetime.

    What they got was a promise from the Attorney General, Tom Clark, that they would be protected from lawsuits while the Justice Department sought authorfaing legislation.

    Who is Tom Clark?

    President Truman appointment of Tom Clark as attorney general in 1945.

    At NSA the cable drop operation was treated as a compartmented matter, and only a few employees knew where the traffic came from. Couriers carried cabled messages to NSA, but there was no direct contact with the cable companies themselves.

    It appears this was not a known operation by many people as the drops were done by courier, and there was no direct contact with the cable companies and the NSA.


    This involved passing on American names and violated customary SlGINT rules by which information on American citizens was to be ignored.

    In 1965, as a result of the conclusions of the Warren Commission, the Secret Service asked NSA to be on the lookout for certain people who might be a threat to the president.

    The Watch List expanded in the 1960s to include people susPected of narcotics trafficking, and at one point most of the names on the list were individuals suspected of narcotics-related activity.

    But by far the most controversial expansion of.the list occurred in 1967, and it involved domestic terrorism.

    In 1967 President Johnson wanted to know if the domestic antiwar movement was receiving help from abroad, and he commissioned Richard Helms at CIA to find out. CIA came up with very little.

    Who is Richard Helms?

    American government official and diplomat who served as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) from 1966 to 1973.

    With FBI as the prime source of names, NSA began. expanding the watch list to include domestic terrorist and foreign radical suspects.

    The project, which became known officially as #Minaret in 1969, employed unusual procedures. NSA distributed reports without the usual serialization.

    ASA’s monitoring of domestic radical communications was almost certainly illegal, according to the legal opinions of two different groupu of government lawyers.

    Clandestine Methods

    If you can’t break a code, the time-honored method is to steal it.

    Black bag jobs referred to the art of breaking, entering, and theft of codes and cipher equipment. The Ofiice of Naval Intelligence (ONn, an unlikely leader in the field, became the first practitioner.

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    Friday, November 8, 2019 @ 6:55:57 AM


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