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Truman signs order to create NSA, following failure to warn of Korean War


American efforts to centralise their codebreaking efforts began in May 1949 with the creation of the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA). The intention was that AFSA would direct the communications and electronic intelligence activities of the three U.S. service cryptanalytical arms: the Army Security Agency, the Naval Security Group, and the Air Force Security Service. The three armed services prized their independence and resisted and so the AFSA simply became a fourth competing entity. However, the failure to predict the outbreak of the Korean War ensured that the issue of centralization remained on the agenda.

In December 1951, CIA Director Walter Bedell Smith urged a survey of US communications intelligence activities. This became known as the Brownell Committee Report and argued for much greater coordination. As a result the National Security Agency with the power to direct was created. The NSA was authorized by President Harry S. Truman in June 1952 and came into existence on 4 November 1952. Although NSA successfully achieved control of comint, elint remained a bone of contention with the armed services.



Top Secret NSA 1, Discovery Channel  (Video clip)

Top Secret NSA 2, Discovery Channel  (Video clip)

Top Secret NSA 3, Discovery Channel  (Video clip)

Top Secret NSA 4, Discovery Channel  (Video clip)

Top Secret NSA 5, Discovery Channel  (Video clip)