(The Independent) Whether you love it or loathe it, there is no intelligence service anywhere in the world comparable to America's massive electronic eavesdropping organisation, the National Security Agency (NSA).
Virtually every news story ever written about NSA focuses to one degree or another on the seemingly impenetrable shroud of secrecy that surrounds all aspects of the agency's operations, which to many outside observers gives it a more than somewhat sinister quality.
NSA does indeed try very hard to keep the specifics of what it does as secret as possible because, as any retired or current-serving cryptologist will tell you, electronic eavesdropping can only work if its operations are conducted in absolute secrecy so that the other side does not know what radio frequencies, e-mail links, or computer terminals you are tapping. Which is why the recent disclosures about some (but not all) of the agency's most sensitive electronic eavesdropping programs have come as such a jolt to officials.
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