The National Security Agency's own history of tracking of U.S. Citizens is flawed

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The National Security Agency’s (NSA) own official history conflated two different constitutionally "questionable practices" involving surveillance of U.S. citizens, according to recent NSA declassifications published today by the National Security Archive, an independent research organization based at The George Washington University.

During the mid-1970s, the U.S. Senate’s Church Committee investigated a number of such “practices” by NSA, including the so-called Watch List program, which monitored the international communications of anti-Vietnam war activists and other alleged “subversives,” and the NSA’s creation of a voluminous filing system on prominent U.S. citizens. Ultimately the filing system, and corresponding indexes, surpassed 1,000,000 names, including 73,000 U.S. citizens.

The Agency’s history mistakenly folded in the NSA’s filing system on U.S. citizens into the Watch List, thus incorrectly stating that Senator Howard Baker and journalists Art Buchwald and Tom Wicker, among others, were on the Watch List. New documents that the NSA has released to the Archive through a mandatory declassification review appeal provide an important corrective to the Agency’s official history.




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