|National Security Agency|
The official seal of the National Security Agency.
|Formed||November 4, 1952|
|Jurisdiction||United States of America|
|Headquarters||Fort Meade, Maryland|
|Agency executive(s)||See Executives|
|Parent agency||United States Department of Defense|
|Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series information|
The National Security Agency (often abbreviated as NSA) is the signals intelligence (SIGINT) bureau of the U.S. government, featured in the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell media franchise as the parent agency of Third Echelon.
The NSA is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States government, administered as part of the United States Department of Defense. Created on November 4, 1952 by President Harry S. Truman, it is responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, which involves a significant amount of cryptanalysis. It is also responsible for protecting U.S. government communications and information systems from similar agencies elsewhere, which involves a significant amount of cryptography.
The NSA's eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organizations and individuals, the Internet, telephone calls, and other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications. It has been described as the world's largest single employer of mathematicians, and the owner of the single largest group of supercomputers, but it has tried to keep a low profile. For many years, its existence was not acknowledged by the U.S. government, earning it the nickname, "No Such Agency" (NSA). Due to the fact that the agency rarely makes any public remarks, it has been quipped that their motto is "never say anything".
Because of its listening task, the NSA has been heavily involved in cryptanalytic research, continuing the work of predecessor agencies which had broken many World War II codes and ciphers.
- Main article: Third Echelon
In response to the growing use of sophisticated digital encryption to conceal potential threats to the national security of the United States, the National Security Agency ushered forth a new dawn of intelligence-gathering techniques. This top-secret initiative, dubbed Third Echelon, marked a return to classical methods of espionage, enhanced with leading-edge surveillance and combat technology for the aggressive collection of stored data in hostile territories. When intelligence deemed critical to national security could not be obtained by traditional means, Third Echelon was granted clearance to conduct physical operations. Its existence denied by the U.S. government, Third Echelon deployed units known as Splinter Cells: elite intelligence-gathering forces consisting of a lone field operative supported by a remote team.
- In the trailer for Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, the NSA was called the "National Security Administration".
- The National Security Agency also has a secret base in an undisclosed area (somewhere near a body of water). It is has been guarded by UPSILON Force mercenaries trying to prevent Echelon spies from stealing the data kept in the base.