Sunday, December 12, 2004

The papers report today that the U.S. has been listening in on phone conversations between Mohammed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Iranian officials. The NSA (responsible for collecting and decoding electronic communications for the U.S. government) is cited in the stories.

It brings to mind a "60 Minutes" story I saw a few years ago, profiling this very secretive arm of intelligence. I recall the NSA having the resources to tap nearly all forms of communication (voice, email, etc.) and target word phrases (i.e. they could encode certain words or phrases to set off alerts). My question: during the lead up to 9-11, are we to believe that the NSA saw NOTHING suspicious in this regard? Nothing set off alarms with regards to troubling phrases in all of the forms of communication they track? In the post 9-11 investigation(s), I don't recall the NSA ever being mentioned, anywhere -- why not?


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