Materials presented in chronological order.

Lichtblau, Eric, and Scott Shane. "Files Say Agency Initiated Growth of Spying Effort." New York Times, 4 Jan. 2006. []

According to declassified documents released on 3 January 2006, NSA "acted on its own authority, without a formal directive from President Bush, to expand its domestic surveillance operations in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks." Administration officials said that then-NSA Director, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, "had acted on the authority previously granted to the N.S.A., relying on an intelligence directive known as Executive Order 12333, issued by President Ronald Reagan in 1981.... [M]embers of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees received a classified briefing from General Hayden on Oct. 1, 2001, about the agency's operations."

Bazan, Elizabeth B., and Jennifer K. Elsea. "Memorandum: Presidential Authority to Conduct Warrantless Electronic Surveillance to Gather Foreign Intelligence Information." Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 5 Jan. 2006. Available at:

After a detailed analysis of "the constitutional and statutory issues raised by the NSA electronic surveillance activity," the memorandum concludes that "the Administration's legal justification, as presented in the summary analysis from the Office of Legislative Affairs, does not seem to be as well-grounded as the tenor of that letter suggests."

Bergman, Lowell, Eric Lichtblau, Scott Shane, and Don Van Natta, Jr. "Spy Agency Data After Sept. 11 Led F.B.I. to Dead Ends." New York Times, 17 Jan. 2006. []

After the 9/11 attacks, NSA "began sending a steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names to the F.B.I. in search of terrorists. The stream soon became a flood, requiring hundreds of agents to check out thousands of tips a month. But virtually all of them, current and former officials say, led to dead ends or innocent Americans. F.B.I. officials repeatedly complained to the spy agency that the unfiltered information was swamping investigators."

Cumming, Alfred. "Memorandum: Statutory Procedures Under Which Congress Is To Be Informed of U.S. Intelligence Activities, Including Covert Actions." Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 18 Jan. 2006. Available at:

See Scott Shane, "Report Questions Legality of Briefings on Surveillance," New York Times, 19 Jan. 2006: A CRS legal analysis "concludes that the Bush administration's limited briefings for Congress" on NSA's "domestic eavesdropping without warrants are 'inconsistent with the law.'" The memorandum "explores the requirement in the National Security Act of 1947 that the committees be kept 'fully and currently informed' of intelligence activities. It notes that the law specifically allows notification of 'covert actions'" to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate and of the Intelligence Committees, (the so-called Gang of Eight), "but says the security agency's program does not appear to be a covert action program."

Gehrke, Robert. "Key Spy Agency Expands to Utah." Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Feb. 2006. []

NSA has confirmed that it will be "adding a cadre of translators in Utah.... The move to Utah is part of a trend within the NSA to move many functions out of its headquarters.... [S]ome NSA counterterrorism operations have moved to Georgia; several thousand NSA jobs are being relocated to a multimillion-dollar facility in San Antonio, according to the San Antonio Express-News; The Denver Post reported some unspecified functions would be moving to the Denver area; and the NSA representative indicated some duties in Hawaii have been expanded."

Gellman, Barton, and Arshad Mohammed. "Data on Phone Calls Monitored: Extent of Administration's Domestic Surveillance Decried in Both Parties." Washington Post, 12 May 2006, A1. []

"The Bush administration has secretly been collecting the domestic telephone records of millions of U.S. households and businesses, assembling gargantuan databases and attempting to sift through them for clues about terrorist threats, according to sources with knowledge of the program. The 'call detail records' enable U.S. intelligence agencies to track who calls whom, and when, but do not include the contents of conversations, the sources said."

Markoff, John. "Questions Raised for Phone Giants in Spy Data Furor." New York Times, 13 May 2006. []

With the exception of Qwest, the nation's fourth-largest phone company, the big phone companies -- AT&T, BellSouth and Verizon -- complied with an effort by the NSA "to build a vast database of calling records, without warrants, to increase its surveillance capabilities after the Sept. 11 attacks." The database reportedly assembled by NSA "from calling records has dozens of fields of information, including called and calling numbers and the duration of calls, but nothing related to the substance of the calls. But it could permit what intelligence analysts and commercial data miners refer to as 'link analysis,' a statistical technique for investigators to identify calling patterns in a seemingly impenetrable mountain of digital data."

Shane, Scott, and Eric Lichtblau. "Cheney Pushed U.S. to Widen Eavesdropping." New York Times, 14 May 2006. []

"In the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney and his top legal adviser [David S. Addington] argued that the National Security Agency should intercept purely domestic telephone calls and e-mail messages without warrants in the hunt for terrorists, according to two senior intelligence officials. But N.S.A. lawyers ... insisted that it should be limited to communications into and out of the country, said the officials, who were granted anonymity to discuss the debate inside the Bush administration late in 2001."

Babington, Charles, and Dafna Linzer. "More Lawmakers to Be Privy to Classified Briefings." Washington Post, 17 May 2006, A7. []

On 16 May 2006, "the White House agreed to brief all 21 members of the House intelligence committee and all 16 of the Senate panel's members" on the administration's "antiterrorism efforts that include warrantless wiretaps of domestic phone calls and e-mails."

Mazzetti, Mark, and Sheryl Gay Stolberg. "Wider Briefing for Lawmakers on Spy Efforts." New York Times, 18 May 2006. []

On 17 May 2006, NSA Director Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander provided classified briefings to the full committee of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the adminsistration's "controversial domestic eavesdropping program."

Tumulty, Karen. "Inside Bush's Secret Spy Net." Time, 22 May 2006, 32-36.

"Your phone records have been enlisted in the war on terrorism. Should that make you worry more or less?"

Gorman, Siobhan. "Hacker Attacks Hitting Pentagon: But NSA's Methods for Safeguarding Data Are Growing Obsolete." Baltimore Sun, 2 Jul. 2006. []

"The number of reported attempts to penetrate Pentagon computer networks rose sharply in the past decade.... At the same time, the nation's ability to safeguard sensitive data in those and other government computer systems is becoming obsolete as efforts to make improvements have faltered and stalled. A National Security Agency program [Key Management Infrastructure] to protect secrets at the Defense Department and intelligence and other agencies is seven years behind schedule,... according to intelligence officials and unclassified internal NSA documents obtained by The Sun."

Eggen, Dan, and Dafna Linzer. "Judge Rules Against Wiretaps: NSA Program Called Unconstitutional." Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2006, A1. []

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the U.S. District Court of Eastern Michigan ruled on 17 August 2006 that NSA's "warrantless surveillance program is unconstitutional." Judge Taylor "ordered a halt to the wiretap program..., but both sides in the lawsuit agreed to delay that action until a Sept. 7 hearing.... The eavesdropping program ... allows the NSA to intercept telephone calls and e-mails between the United States and overseas without court approval in cases in which the government suspects one party of having links to terrorism." See also, Adam Liptak and Eric Lichtblau, "U.S. Judge Finds Wiretap Actions Violate the Law," New York Times, 18 Aug. 2006.

Waterman, Shaun. "NSA's New Info Sharing Research Project." United Press International, 25 Aug. 2006. []

Portland, Oregon-based Swan Island Networks, Inc., has been chosen "to design and build a sophisticated platform that will allow counter-terrorism information -- including personal data about Americans -- to be securely shared in a variety of ways that reflect and respect the different rules in place in different agencies to protect individual privacy and information security.... Under the terms of the deal, a so-called Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, Swan Island's two-dozen employees will work alongside engineers from the NSA's Information Assurance Directorate both in Portland and at the agency's headquarters in Fort Meade, MD."

Halloran, Liz. "Bye-Bye to Secret Spy Program?" U.S. News & World Report, 27 Nov. 2006, 31.

President Bush's marching orders to Republican members of Congress to pass legislation authorizing NSA's domestic eavesdropping program has been met with "deafening silence." In addition, "some three dozen legal challenges have been filed questioning the program's legality and Bush's wartime powers claim."

Lichtblau, Eric. "Justice Official Opens Spying Inquiry." New York Times, 28 Nov. 2006. []

Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said on 27 November 2006 "that his office had opened a full review into the department's role in President Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program and the legal requirements governing the program." The program allows NSA "to monitor, without obtaining court warrants, the international communications of Americans and others inside this country with suspected terrorist ties."

Return to NSA 2000s Table of Contents