National Security Agency

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The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S. government communications and information systems,[1] which involves cryptanalysis and cryptography.

The NSA is directed by at least a lieutenant general or vice admiral. NSA is a key component of the U.S. Intelligence Community, which is headed by the Director of National Intelligence. The Central Security Service is a co-located agency created to coordinate intelligence activities and co-operation between NSA and other U.S. military cryptanalysis agencies. The Director of the NSA is also the Commander of the Joint Functional Component Command – Network Warfare.[2] NSA's work is limited to communications intelligence; it does not perform field or human intelligence activities. By law, NSA's intelligence gathering is limited to foreign communications, although incidents such as the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy have occurred.


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