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Volume 5: The National Security Agency and Fourth Amendment Rights
In 1975, few Americans had even heard of the National Security
Agency. Created in 1952 as part of the Defense Department but with
no written charter, the NSA’s primary mission is electronic intelligence
gathering. Gathering intercepts of foreign electronic communications
required an NSA staff of thousands in the 1970s. The Senate Select
Committee’s questioning revolved around the use of this capability
to target American citizens, particularly dissidents. The NSA’s
Project MINARET, created in 1969 to spy on peace groups and black
power organizations, was the subject of some focus. At issue were
Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.
Witnesses included the Director of the National Security Agency,
Lew Allen. Also testifying were Attorney General Edward Levi and
Professor of Law Philip Heymann.