The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS or NSA) was founded in 1954 and is headquartered in Fort Meade, Maryland. It is responsible for collecting, processing, and disseminating intelligence information from foreign electronic signals for national foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes and to support military operations. NSA/CSS is also tasked with preventing foreign adversaries from gaining access to classified national security information. News reports in December 2005 first revealed that the NSA has been intercepting Americans’ phone calls and Internet communications. In addition, EFF obtained whistleblower evidence from a former AT&T technician showing that AT&T is cooperating with the illegal surveillance. The undisputed documents show that AT&T installed a fiberoptic splitter at its facility at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco that makes copies of all emails web browsing and other Internet traffic to and from AT&T customers and provides those copies to the NSA. This copying likely includes both domestic and international Internet activities of AT&T customers. In response, EFF launched two lawsuits - one against the government for illegal spying, which is still active, and another against the AT&T for assisting in that spying, which was dismissed after Congress gave retroactive immunity to the telecom providers. In 2013, after leaked government documents published in the Guardian and Washington Post, EFF filed a third suit, Unitarian Church v. NSA, which challenges the constitutionality of the NSA's mass domestic phone records collection program.
Letter from Judge John Bates to Senator Leahy regarding Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) reform provisions in the 2014 USA FREEDOM Act.