NSA/CSS declassified documents

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The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Security Service (CSS) periodically release declassified documents or indexes to these documents to the public.  This is all part of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States Government.

If cryptology and cryptanalysis are your cup of tea, just browse over to NSA’s Declassification Initiatives web page and dive in.   You’ll need a few hours to do this justice, so plan on returning a few times.

Here are some juicy finds:

The declassified documents are a little “long in the tooth”; for security reasons don’t expect to see documents written last month, last year, or even over the last decade.  Don’t be surprised if you encounter large blocks of censored material (check out this one, pages 17-94) — no one said the FOIA reduces NSA’s paranoidism!  The historic publications, on the other hand, are quite contemporary and recent.  In any case, you will find a wealth of classic cryptologic history and information.

One last comment: if you would like cryptologic information that is not available, consider submitting an FOIA request.  It might take some time until they get around to processing your request, but they will get to it eventually.

So get a cup of your favorite hot beverage, kick off your shoes, and enjoy a long and enjoyable excursion through the NSA Declassification Initiatives.

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2 Responses to NSA/CSS declassified documents

  1. mosherubin says:

    This FOIA stuff really works! I submitted a request to declassify information about the Chaocipher cryptograph machine. Within a few weeks I had a reply back from NSA (read all about it here). It wasn’t what I wanted to receive, but it was a reply.

    Bottom line: it really works, you get back real answers, and you might just get something important declassified.

  2. mosherubin says:

    This morning I received a change notification from ChangeDetection.com about an addition to the “Cryptologic Quarterly Articles” page on the NSA/CSS site (see my blog entry about ChangeDetection.com). The notification correctly detected the posting yesterday of “COMINT and the PRC Intervention in the Korean War (Summer 1996 – Vol. 15, No. 2)”.

    Two comments:

    (1) The NSA/CSS declassification site is indeed active.

    (2) ChangeDetection.com is an excellent tool for monitoring sites that don’t provide their own notification mechanism.

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