In the 1960s, the NSA played a key role in expanding U. commitment to the Vietnam War by providing evidence of a North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USS Maddox during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
A secret operation, code-named "MINARET", was set up by the NSA to monitor the phone communications of Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, as well as major civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and prominent U. journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War. The NESTOR family of compatible secure voice systems it developed was widely deployed during the Vietnam War, with about 30,000 NESTOR sets produced. revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain's SIGINT intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. In 1986, the NSA intercepted the communications of the Libyan government during the immediate aftermath of the Berlin discotheque bombing.
Its true mission, however, was to break the communications (chiefly diplomatic) of other nations.
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The NSA mounted a major effort to secure tactical communications among U. However a variety of technical and operational problems limited their use, allowing the North Vietnamese to exploit and intercept U. The White House asserted that the NSA interception had provided "irrefutable" evidence that Libya was behind the bombing, which U. President Ronald Reagan cited as a justification for the 1986 United States bombing of Libya.
In 1999, a multi-year investigation by the European Parliament highlighted the NSA's role in economic espionage in a report entitled 'Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information'.
The origins of the National Security Agency can be traced back to April 28, 1917, three weeks after the U. World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and the army cryptographic section of Military Intelligence (MI-8) moved to New York City on May 20, 1919, where it continued intelligence activities as the Code Compilation Company under the direction of Yardley. The Black Chamber was the United States' first peacetime cryptanalytic organization.
Jointly funded by the Army and the State Department, the Cipher Bureau was disguised as a New York City commercial code company; it actually produced and sold such codes for business use.
Despite the Chamber's initial successes, it was shut down in 1929 by U. However, the AFSA was unable to centralize communications intelligence and failed to coordinate with civilian agencies that shared its interests such as the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Truman ordered a panel to investigate how AFSA had failed to achieve its goals.