Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Even More Missives From the Opaque Boss

Curious as to the NSA's role in the death of Bin Laden? Submit a FOIA request for the Director's Message on "NSA's Role in the Death of Osama Bin Laden." It is one of dozens of messages from Director of the NSA to his staff officially acknowledged by the NSA.

In response to a recent FOIA request submitted on behalf of the author, the National Security Agency has declassified a list of "Director's Messages," missives from Keith Alexander to his underlings and minions at NSA. This newly declassified and decontrolled list features messages dating from the last list which this author was able to procure (available here) . It should be noted that the Director's Messages replaced the "DIRgrams" sent out by General Michael Hayden during his reign as DIRNSA. The two lists of Hayden's DIRgrams can be found here and here

While all of the messages on this seven- page list appearing to be interesting, among the more notable are:

"NSA's Role in the Death of Osama Bin Laden"
"New NSA/CSS Strategy"
"Violence in the Workplace"
"NSA and the New Administration"
"Support to the President-elect's transition Team"
and many, many more.

Copies of these messages can be obtained through FOIA. Electronic FOIA requests can be submitted to the NSA through their website.

A 3rd Round of DIRNSA Messages                                                           

A Croatian, Culinary Clash

During the opening week of 1980, Chicago was the scene of an aborted terrorist campaign directed against Croatian emigres supportive of Yugoslavia. On January 4th 1980, a bomb was discovered in the parking lot used by customers of the Golden Shell restaurant, which was patronized by Yugoslavs and located within an ethnic Croatian neighborhood. Around noon, January 5th 1980, a Chicago employee sanitation was killed when an improvised explosive device placed in the alley behind the Continental Club detonated. Like the Golden Shell, the Continental Club was patronized largely by Yugoslavs.1

The investigation made little progress. One of the biggest impediments appears to the fact that no claims of credit were received for the bombings and no communiques were issued. Upon, however, consultation with other FBI field offices and the initial examination of the crime scenes, Croatian National Resistance members were immediately suspected.2 This initial impression was bolstered by a source who had “furnished reliable information,” the owner of the Golden Shell was disliked by Otpor members who disapproved of her decision to advertise on pro-Yugoslav radio shows. The source also informed the FBI that the Continental Club had occurred Otpor's disfavor because its ownership was pro-Yugoslav and Yugoslav diplomatic personnel were a common presence in the restaurant.3 Another “confidential source who has furnished reliable information in the past” alerted the FBI that spoke with a [redacted] individual who told the Otpor member that the FBI had questioned her about Otpor and the [redacted] individual's relationship with it.

While the [redacted] (probably the owner or the manager of the Golden Shell) stated she had no problems with any Yugoslav groups prior to the bombing attempt4  [Redacted] reported that the [redacted] of the Golden Shell had been previously condemned over her decision to advertise the restaurant as “Yugoslav” as opposed to “Croatian” and she had been approached with demands to display pro-Croatian posters in the windows.

The Continental Club had recently had a Yugoslav entertainer at the club, something that angered members of the Serbian and Croatian communities.6  On January 6th, the Kragujevic Lounge received a threatening phone call from a male “Serbian” voice who shouted profanity over the loyalty to Tito at the [redacted] recipient of the phone call.Based on the prior two attacks, it appears an accurate, but not totally safe to bet this was a follow-up to the prior two attacks.

Ultimately, even a plan to employ hypnotism failed to produce any results in this investigation and judging from the file the investigation ended in 1981.  Below is almost all of the FBI file on the matter. Feel free to explore and possibly solve this mystery yourself.


11/6/1980 Memorandum from Chicago (field office) to Director Subject: ATTEMPTED BOMBING AT THE PARKING LOT OF THE GOLDEN SHELL RESTAURANT 1-3
2Chicago Field Office FD-263 for the period between 1/5-2/5/1980 Case” NEWBOM cover page B.
31/9/1980 FBI transcription of notes on witness interview
41/14/1980 transcript of witness interview notes Description of witness based on description of establishment as [hers]
5Transcribed notes from 1/14/1980 investigation by [redacted] SA
6Transcribed notes from 1/8/1980 investigation by [redacted] SA
71/8/1980 transcribed notes from interview with [redacted]

Friday, July 1, 2011

The NSA Public History Reader

Its initials mocked as standing for No Such Agency” and “Never Say Anything” and an established history of employing almost any means - technological, legal, and monetary- necessary to secure its anonymity and mission from hostile scrutiny,  it seems both ironic and laughable that one of the United States government’s most robust and publicly assessable public history programs is operated by the National Security Agency. Staffed at the time of this writing with , the National Security Agency’s public history program, operated under the auspices of the Center for Cryptologic History and the NSA’s Public Affairs Office has produced over a thousand oral histories, dozens of classified and unclassified monographs, and operates the only museum maintained by a member of the American Intelligence Community opened to the public. It has even produced a three part history of history at the National Security Agency, essentially an autobiography of the history program at the  Internally, the Center for Cryptologic History is tasked with providing support for and does so by providing history classes for the National Cryptologic School, educating “new hires” at NSA, and to create camaraderie within NSA ranks through the use of history. 

Below are seven documents relating to the public history programs with some links to follow-up resources.

National Security Agency/ Central Security Service- NSA/CSS POLICY I-55 was issued on 9/I9/ 2007 and the last revised on 6/10/201. This fifteen page document governs all aspects of the Center for Cryptologic History's activities including its oral history program, its publication of books and the Cryptologic Quarterly, and its the NSA's Memoralization programs.
National Security Agency/ Central Security Service- NSA/CSS POLICY I-55                                                            
Founded at the command of the first director of the National Security Agency Ralph Canine, the Technical Journal was a print publication designed to allow NSA staff to discuss technical problems, issues, and solutions amongst themselves. The Technical Journal was supplemented in 1968 with the creation of the Cryptologic Spectrum, a publication whose focus was to be less on technical issues and more the history and social science aspects of cryptography. As shown by articles posted by the National Security on its website, this separation of technical and social was more a fuzzy guideline and then a firm, enforced policy.
To the left, is the last publication guideline for the Technical Journal. According to the final response letter, they could not locate the publication guidelines for the Cryptologic Spectrum.

In 1981, the Cryptologic Quarterly was created and both the Technical Journal and the Cryptologic Spectrum were subsumed into this publication which is still produced by the NSA. It is occasionally supplemented by the Cryptologic Almanac, which is a specially produced publication that focuses on a specific topic. 

      Contributor Guidelines for the NSA's Crypytologic Quarterly                                                            

Currently, (according to their organizational chart) the Center for Cryptologic History produces all of this with a staff of just five people. Heading the effort is Dr. William Williams who heads the Center for Cryptologic History and is described by Matthew Aid as, "

The first page is a copy of the most recent (at the time of post) customer satisfaction survey. The next four are a compilation of statistics from the last review of complete customer surveys. From the available date, it seems that the visitors who completed the survey were generally civilian or prior-service and enjoyed their visit to the NCM. 

NSA Museum Survey Results

The first two pages of the next document are a memo on the presentation of a proposal for a National Security Agency museum. The current museum has its origins in this proposal despite the significant differences between it and the National Cryptologic Museum as it now exists.

The Initial NSA Museum Proposal                                                           

This five page document is NSA/CSS Regulation No. 10-63 NSA/CSS Prepublication Review Procedure. Dated 12/15/1992, this is the regulation that governs the procedures and policies that allow NSA employees to publish while protecting American national security.

NSA Prepublication Review Regulation                                                           

Further Reading- The Center for Cryptologic History has produced a wonderful three part series on the History of History at the NSA

The Central Intelligence Agency's Center for the Study of Intelligence has produced two articles on the National Cryptologic Museum: