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The current U.S. Administration [that of President Clinton] has
cautiously welcomed this development, but has made it clear that
Former President Carter would be traveling to Bosnia as a private
U.S. citizen and not as a representative of the U.S. Government.


Since Former President Carter will not be officially representing
the U.S. Government, any reports that reflect either his travels to
Bosnia or his participation in efforts to end the war may identify
him only as a "U.S. person." Only if Former President Carter
eventually becomes an official envoy of the U.S. Government in this
activity, could he then be identified as a "former U.S. president."


• In 1995, there was great concern in Washington over the fate of
Michael DeVine, an American who ran a hotel in the Guatemalan
rain forest, and Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, a guerrilla leader
married to an American lawyer. The evidence indicated that they
had both been killed by a Guatemalan military officer on the CIA's
payroll and that the agency may have known of the murders.
Outraged, Senator Robert Torricelli of New Jersey wrote to
President Clinton: "The direct involvement of the Central
Intelligence Agency in the murder of these individuals leads me to
the extraordinary conclusion that the agency is simply out of
control and that it contains what can only be called a criminal
element."


As a result of a number of calls for investigations by both the CIA and
Congress, NSA was asked to check its massive database”years' worth of
stored raw traffic”for "any information concerning events in Guatemala
from January 1987 to the present" relating to DeVine and Velasquez.
Seeing that NSA could be dragged into a quagmire by the request, NSA's
general counsel reminded the Operations Directorate that federal law
"prohibits the collection of communications to, from, or about U.S.
persons without approval of either the Director, NSA, the Attorney
General, or the FISA Court depending on the circumstances." He added,
"NSA is not authorized to collect Sigint for law enforcement or
investigative purposes." The lawyers were no doubt worried about
intercepts turning up in civil lawsuits or criminal proceedings.


• In June 1996, as former senator Bob Dole and President Clinton
began squaring off for the fall elections, analysts were specially
reminded to be careful to avoid mentioning any candidate or


374
political party that might be picked up in an intercept. "The
political parties of the U.S. are," said the memorandum,
"considered U.S. persons, as are the candidates themselves. Since
a U.S. identity is considered to be revealed whenever the reader of
a report can recognize a particular U.S. person, avoid identifying
the political parties or the candidates by name, unique title,
personal identifier, or textual context."


The memo went on, "We anticipate that as the 1996 election
campaigns go on, there may be instances when references to political
parties and candidates will be necessary to understand foreign
intelligence or assess its importance. In such cases . . . refer to the U.S.
identity in generic terms only: a U.S. political party, a U.S. presidential
candidate, a U.S. Senate candidate, etc. Remember that even when such
terms are used, the context of the report could constitute an
identification."


• During the October 1997 summit in Washington between
President Clinton and China's Jiang Zemin, greatly expanded
eavesdropping operations were planned. The planning required
extensive searching through satellite and microwave channels”
"search and development"”for key circuits of potential intelligence
value.


Four months earlier, in preparation for the event, the lawyer assigned
to NSA's Operations Directorate sent out a Top Secret/Comint Channels
Only briefing memorandum to those preparing for the complex operation.
"USSID 18 procedures for Search and Development are broader than
those identified in the main body of the USSID," it said; this may have
meant that domestic communications channels were to be searched.
"During the course of search and development any signals with
communications to, from, or about U.S. persons should be handled in
accordance with the processing section of the USSID."
The memorandum then laid out a series of questions the intercept
operators and analysts should ask themselves, among which were the
following: "Will you get the information through a database?" "Who is the
target? What is his/her status as a U.S. person?" "What is the foreign
intelligence purpose?" "What do you reasonably expect to get from the
proposed electronic surveillance and what is the basis of that belief?"
The memorandum also established a number of guidelines. "If your
focus is a foreign target and you incidentally have a U.S. person on one
side of the communications," it said, "the foreign intelligence may be


375
reported as long as you focus on the foreign aspect and minimize out the
U.S. side. The U.S. information must be replaced with a generic term
unless it meets [certain other] criteria. ... If someone requests U.S.
person information you must have them contact P022 [NSA's Special
Product Control Branch]."
Officials anticipated that analysts would make heavy use of what one
document referred to as NSA's "raw traffic storage systems which contain
identities of U.S. persons." As a result, analysts were cautioned, "Do your
research before you get on the system and try to anticipate what type of
information you will get back when you type in your query."
As tight as the laws, regulations, and internal guidelines governing
the NSA are, a few potential loopholes exist. Although NSA takes great
pains to eliminate the names of U.S. persons in the reports it sends out,
any customer (for instance, CIA or DIA) can obtain the names simply by
faxing a request to NSA. The request must offer a reason and state that
the name "is necessary to understand the foreign intelligence or assess
its importance." In case such a request is received, NSA keeps the names
in its database for up to a year. And the agency will not disclose how
often names are released through this backdoor procedure.
"Americans were never listed" in reports, said one of NSA's customers.
"It would say 'U.S. Person.' Also for the Brits. If you [the customer]
needed the name you could make a request”there's an office called U.S.
Identities, and you [the customer] could call them [the U.S. Identities
Office] up and send them a letter and say, I need to know who that guy
is. They [U.S. Identities] could tell you, if you . . . sent them a letter
explaining why. You would tell them the transmittal number, serial
number. It didn't make any difference if the U.S. person was in the U.S.
or overseas. As long as you give them a reasonable explanation as to why
you needed it. And then they [NSA] call you back and they say, 'Hi, we're
calling about your letter, serial number so and so,' and they [NSA] would
say, 'Here's the name and here's the control number,' so they'd [NSA]
have a tracking number."
"If the [Sigint] report goes out to twenty people, not all twenty people
get the identity," said a senior intelligence official involved in Sigint.
"Maybe only five people will come in and ask for it. The five people who
come in and ask for it have to ask for it in writing, and they have to
demonstrate they need it for their official duties and that it's necessary to
understand the foreign intelligence or assess its importance. If they
don't, we don't give it to them. If they do, then they get the identity of the
U.S. person, but there's a record that that has happened."
Although USSID 18 directs that "communications identified as
domestic communications shall be promptly destroyed," there is an
exception: "Domestic communications that are reasonably believed to



376
contain foreign intelligence information shall be disseminated to the
Federal Bureau of Investigation (including United States person
identities) for possible further dissemination by the Federal Bureau of
Investigation in accordance with its minimization procedures."
Also, international and foreign communications between two
Americans can be retained and distributed at the discretion of the
director of NSA, providing that he determines that the intercept contains
"significant foreign intelligence or possible evidence of a crime." U.S.
Attorney General Janet Reno approved these revised guidelines on July
1, 1997.
While the federal government allows a number of exceptions to its
privacy constraints when it comes to average Americans, no exceptions
are permitted concerning the government's own communications. If an
intercept operator inadvertently picks up a conversation one party to
which is a U.S. official, the tape must be destroyed immediately”even if
the official is talking to one of NSA's key targets.
For Americans, the greatest danger of NSA is its involvement with law
enforcement. During the Nixon years, NSA was used to secretly target
antiwar protesters and others in disfavor with the White House. Today,
among NSA's key targets areas are the "transnational" threats: narcotics
trafficking, terrorism, international organized crime, weapons
proliferation, and illicit trade practices. "The primary purpose of the
collection activity," says one NSA document, "will be the production of
foreign intelligence information on the foreign aspects of international
narcotics trafficking. No collection for law enforcement purposes or in
support of law enforcement operations is authorized. All collection must
be designed to satisfy national Sigint requirements. Information
pertaining to the international narcotics trafficking activities targeted for
collection will be forwarded to NSA for analysis and reporting."
"If the Sigint business can tell the president, 'When you're dealing
with this guy, you're effectively dealing with the XYZ cartel,' " said one
senior intelligence official involved in Sigint, "that's pretty good
information for the president to know."
One of those most opposed to NSA involvement in law enforcement is
the agency's former top lawyer, Stewart A. Baker. "When I was at the
National Security Agency," he said, "we used to joke about the
predictable stages traversed by prosecutors who sought intelligence
reports in connection with big investigations. The first reaction was open-
mouthed wonder at what the intelligence agencies were able to collect.
That was followed by an enthusiastic assumption that vast quantities of
useful data must lie in our files. Next came the grinding review of
individual documents and the growing realization that the reports were
prepared for other purposes and so were unlikely to contain much of



377
relevance to the investigator's specific concerns. Last came ennui, and a
gritted-teeth plod through the reports, mostly to avoid a later charge that
the examination was incomplete."
NSA's major push into law enforcement came with the fall of the
Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism. "Because the Soviet Union
was no longer a threat," said Baker, "some of the resources devoted to
extracting its secrets could be turned to other tasks, to other foreign
targets. But some of those foreign targets had a domestic tinge. As topics
like international narcotics trafficking, terrorism, alien smuggling, and
Russian organized crime rose in priority for the intelligence community,
it became harder to distinguish between targets of law enforcement and
those of national security."
Soon, common centers were formed for counterdrug,
counterterrorism, counterproliferation, and counter-international-
organized-crime activities. They were populated by both law enforcement
and intelligence personnel, again dangerously mixing the two areas. "Few
foresaw any danger in nibbling a bit at the principle that intelligence and
law enforcement must remain separate undertakings," said Baker.
"Today the risk to civil liberties is largely theoretical. However theoretical
[those] risks . . . may be, they cannot be ignored. . . . One of my office's
jobs at the agency was to review requests for intelligence from drug
enforcement agencies. In some cases, we suspected they were trying to
shortcut constitutional or statutory limits, and their requests were
denied. But I have no illusions that our objections would have prevailed
if a different message had been coming from the leaders of the agency
and the government."
In the end, the question of whether NSA is secretly abusing its
enormous powers comes down to trust. " 'Trust us' is the NSA's implicit
message," said David Ignatius of the Washington. Post "Trust us to
distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys, and to use our
powerful surveillance tools for the good of humankind. As an American
and a trusting soul, I want to extend that confidence to General Hayden
and his beleaguered colleagues. The United States needs an NSA that
can shed its threadbare old clothes”and, when necessary, can crack the
codes and monitor the conversations of people who could get us all
killed. But it is unrealistic to expect the rest of the world to be
enthusiastic. People will be glad when the NSA bags that biological
terrorist as he's about to deliver the anthrax bomb”even those dyspeptic
European parliamentarians. But don't expect them to give the global
policeman much help along the way”or to stop demanding the same
privacy rights that Americans have."


On a Monday evening in January, everything suddenly went quiet.



378
NSA's brain, overworked, had a sudden seizure, a blackout. Its ears
continued to hear, pulling in the millions of messages an hour, but its
mind could no longer think.
Three miles away in his stately brick home on Butler Avenue, NSA
Director Michael Hayden, an Air Force lieutenant general, had just
finished his dinner and was watching television when his secure STU-III
phone rang. The entire system had crashed, he was told. It was January
24, 2000.
While it was 7:00 P.M. at NSA, it was midnight deep within the
computers, which operate on Greenwich Mean Time. For some reason, at
that moment a piece of software malfunctioned, setting off a systemwide
shutdown. "It was the whole net by which we move, use, abuse,
process”everything we do with information here at Fort Meade went
down," said Hayden. "Everything on the Fort Meade campus went down.
Everything."
The director ordered an emergency response. Computer scientists,
electrical engineers, mathematicians, anyone who could shed light on the
problem was told to report in. " 'What do I tell the workforce?' " Hayden
said he thought. "I called [Director of Corporate Communications] Bill
[Marshall] in here and I said, 'Bill, I need a concept; we need to
communicate this to the workforce. What should we do?'" Marshall
suggested a town meeting. "And that's exactly what we did." Taking to
the stage in the Friedman Auditorium, Hayden warned everyone not to
say a word about the crash. "I said the fact that we're down is an
operational secret," Hayden recalled. "Our adversaries cannot know that
our intelligence capabilities have been crippled."
On the second floor of the Tordella Supercomputer Facility, scientists
pulled apart spaghettilike mazes of multicolored wires, covered desks
and floors with unwieldy schematics and wiring diagrams, and probed,
inch by inch, the computer's nervous system.
To Hayden, the crash came as a shock”especially because only three

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