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The First Round

The First Round

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Published by John Greenewald
The following document(s) have been shared with Scribd users by The Black Vault, http://www.theblackvault.com, the world's largest private collection of declassified government documents. With well over 600,000 pages of declassified material on a vast array of topics, The Black Vault has fascinated users worldwide on the internet for more than 15 years. Check out the site, and help pass the word!
The following document(s) have been shared with Scribd users by The Black Vault, http://www.theblackvault.com, the world's largest private collection of declassified government documents. With well over 600,000 pages of declassified material on a vast array of topics, The Black Vault has fascinated users worldwide on the internet for more than 15 years. Check out the site, and help pass the word!

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Published by: John Greenewald on Aug 21, 2011
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05/22/2012

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DOCID:
3549755
(U)CryptologicAlmanac50
th
AnniversarySeries
lS1fst}-TheFirstRound:NSA'sEffortagainstInternationalTerrorism
in
the19705
(U)Asfarbackasthelate19thcentury,terrorismhasbeenthetoolusedbymanynational,ethnic,political,orreligiousgroupsormovementstofurthertheiraims.HistoricalexamplesincludetheIrishRepublicanArmy(knownonceastheIrishRepublicanBrotherhood),theSerbianBlackHand,andtheZionistIrgunZvaiLeumi,andavariety
of
anarchistgroups.However,thereisaproblem
of
perception.Nodoubtthatmanymovementshavecommittedactsthatcanbeinterpretedas"terrorist."Moreoften,though,criteria,suchaspolitics,propaganda,andethnicorreligioussympathies,weremoreimportantwhenitcametolabelingagroupterrorist.Oneimportantcharacteristic
of
thesemanygroupswasthatusuallytheyconfinedtheirterroristactswithintheborders
of
thenation
or
territoryinwhichtheyexisted,andthatnationalmilitaryorsecurityforcesdealtwiththem,
if
notalwayssuccessfully.(U)However,bytheearly1970s,terrorismhadgoneinternational.Thischangewasdueprobablytoanumber
of
changesinthepoliticalclimate,advancesintechnology,andtheperceptionbyterroristgroupsthatactscommittedoutsidetheircountrywouldattractattentiontotheircauseandpressuretheiropponentsintoconcessions.Thenumber
of
terroristincidentsnearlydoubledfrom1968to1970.Thereaftertheygrewby25percenteachyearuntil1972.Inthatyearoccurredone
of
themostinfamousacts
of
internationalterrorism-theseizure
of
IsraeliathletesattheMunichOlympicsbymembers
of
thePalestinianBlackSeptembergroup.Terroristsfrommanycountriesnowmovedacrossborderstocarryoutacts
of
violence.GroupsasdiverseastheJapaneseRedArmy,theIRA,theBasqueseparatistETA,theItalianRedBrigade,andnumerousPalestiniangroupscarriedoutattacksallovertheworld.(TSA'8I)NSAwasslowtotakeuptheproblem,anditsoverallapproachwasratherhaphazard.Thereasonusuallygivenwasthatthenature
of
theterroristSIGINTtargetwasunusualandthatitdefinedtheresultingNSAorganizationalresponse.Interms
of
traditionalSIGINT,terroristcommunicationsweredifferentthantheconventionalmilitaryorl
IF()r
themostpart,terroristgroupslackeddedicatedcommunicationssystems.SoNSAwas
corifr0:t'lted
withtheprospect
of
pickingouttheneedles
of
terroristtransmissionsinthehaystack
01
I
I
I B u t t h ~ y o l u m e
of
trafficwassohigh,andJhenature
of
terroristcommunicationssosubtlethatfindinganythingtransmittedbyterrorists
was
problematic.AnotherSIGINTsource,thecommunications
o ~
I
~ ) e c l a : : ; s i f i
edand
appw'.;edforelease
by
~ ~ S A ,
on
05-'12-2009
EO
1.
4.
(c)
f)ursuanttci
E,O,
'12958,
as
amended
r',/lDF:
58t:;
'15
 
DOCID:
3549755
/ ~ E O
1.
4.
(c)
Ilorganizationswasnotusuallyhelpful.Informationgatheredfromthesesourceswasmixedinwithunverifiablerumors,speculatioD,8llC:ljustplai\I\wrongdata.Someobserverspejorativelycalledthesesources
"COMINTHUMINT."
\
~
ThedifficultcollectionproblemalsodefinedtheNSA'sorganizationaltesponse.Traditionally,NSAanalyticcenterswereorganizedaroundemittertypesanddeftnedtargetentities.
In
AGroup,thisapproachcouldbefmetuned
to
thepointwhere
v a r i o u ~
communicationsmodes
of
asingleunit,suchasl
I
wereanalyzed(andusuallyreported)byseparateteamswithinabranch.
In
theGGroup
of
the1970s,acounty'sinternalcommunicationsosuallywerehandledinacompletelyseparatedivisionfromonethatanalyzed
itsc=Jcomplex.
However,thetatgetreptesentedadifficultorganizationalproblem.Insomecases/whereacountry'stheproblemcouldbeassignedtotheappropriate.targetanalyticdesk.
o w e v e r ~
sometargets,suchasinternationaltradeandfinance,resistedthiseasycategorization.
In
1973.
GGroup
establishedadivision-levelorganization,G77,titled,"DesignatedTopics."Theseincludednuclear
p r o l i f e r a t i o n ~
//
I
arms
trade,1
rand
internationalfinance.Withinthedivision,abranch,G772,wasorganizedtohandlesomespecialprojects,one
of
whichwasinternationalterrorism.-('fShl81+G77hadnocollectiontargetsandresources
of
itsown.Analysisandreportingweredifficultbecauseinterceptedterroristtransmissionsoften
Were
collectedfromsourcessuch
a ~
r
ResponsibilityfortheseCOMINTsourcesbelongedtootherGGroupoffices.TheseofficeswouldhavetoapproveanyG77reportingbasedontheirsources.ThissituationprobablyhamperedG772'soverallproductivity.By1976,probablyaspart
of
thegeneralNSApost-Vietnamretrenchmen.t,G77wascutback/andtheterrorismproblemwasdropped.Theeffortwasnotacompletewash,though.
Afew
successeswereclaimed.In1973al
~ o m b
plotagainstIsraeliofficesandpropertyinNewYorkCitywasthwartedbyajoint-NSA-CIAFBIeffort.In1974aplottoassassinateSecretary
of
StateHenryKissingerduring
a
visittoDamascus,Syria,wasbroken
upl
I
IIwassenttotheSecretServicedetail.SecretaryKissinger'sitinerarywaschangedwhileSyrianpolicefoundabombontheoriginalroute.
A l s o ~
~ o m m u n i c a t i o n s ,
on
whichanumber
of
terroristgroupscouldbeheard,werebeingexploitedregularlybyG6analysts,andthissourceprovidedmuchinformation
on
theiractivity.
(T8NSI)
In
1976aneworganization,
GIl,
theSynthesisReportingDivision,startedpublishingaweeklySummary
of
IntemationalTerroristActivity(SITA).ThisreportingvehicleculledallGGroupreportsforitemsdealingwithterroristactivity.TheSITAcontinuedintotheearly1990s.Interestingly,theSITAexcludedterroristtacticsusedbyliberation
m o v e m e n ~
~
It
alsoeXcludedlromtheSITAseries,aninterestingtrendinterroristactivityinthelateryears
of
the1970swasthatmanyterroristactsweredirectedagainstso-calledmoderateArab
c o u n t r i e ~
I

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