Report: Echelon

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  ECHELON Timeline


Formalization of UKUSA agreement.


Establishment of the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) to direct communications intelligence and electronic intelligence activities of the military service signals units (ASA, NSG, AFSS)


President Truman sent out a top secret memorandum to abolish the AFSA and to create the National Security Agency NSA. The main focuses lied on: control, coordination, collection and processing of Communication Intelligence. The NSA was considered to be within, but not a part of the Department of Defense. .(Jeffrey T. Richelson, The U.S. Intelligence Community, Westview Press, 4th ed., 1999, p 31)


The WS-117L program (for the development of reconnaissance satellites for the AirForce an CIA) was approved by President Eisenhower. It also included the development of signal intercept equipment within the framework of the project Pioneer Ferret


Official acknowledgement of NSA in the Government Organization Manual


Establishment of the National Reconnaissance Office NRO as a joint Air Force and CIA operation. Ist existance was classified secret till 1992. Ist tasks werde focused on overseeing and funding the research and development of reconnaissance spacecraft and their sensors, procuring the space systems and their associated ground stations, determinig launch vehicle requirements, operating spacecraft and disseinating the data collected.(Jeffrey T. Richelson, The U.S. Intelligence Community, Westview Press, 4th ed., 1999, p 37)


Scope of NSA's SIGINT activities was redefined in Communication Intelligence and Electronic Intelligence and Communication Security (In the 80s the term changed to Information Security).

Perry Fellwock, former NSA analyst, gives an interview for Ramparts on NSA electronic interception:


Duncan Campbell published an article in Time Out called "The Eavesdroppers" which was a description of what GCHQ was and did. From that time on Campbell published many articles concerning illiegal communication interception done by the secret services.


American Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is a law that permits secret buggings and wiretaps of individuals suspected of being agents of a hostile foreign government or international terrorist organization. (


David Burnham, The New York Times, writes:

Washington, Nov 6 --- A Federal appeals court has ruled that the National Security Agency may lawfully intercept messages between United States citizens and people overseas, even if there is no cause to believe they Americans are foreign agents, and then provide summaries of these messages to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.(


James Bamford publishes The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's Most Secret Agency.


Jeffrey T. Richelson and Desmond Ball bring out The Ties That Bind: Intelligence Cooperation Between the UKUSA Countries


William Burrows publishes Deep Black: Space Espionage and National Security


ECHELON (as terminus) was first revealed by Duncan Campbell in 1988 in a 'New Statesman' article.


Jeffrey T. Richelson brings out The U.S. Intelligence Community


Members of GCHQ became told the London Observer that the ECHELON dictionaries targeted Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Christian institutions and more.

June 1992: FBI produces paper "Law Enforcement REQUIREMENTS for the

surveillance of electronic communications"


A presidential conference with Asian leaders was bugged by US intelligence agencies, as goes the rumour, and information was passed from the White House to big corporate donors.

A BBC documentary about NSA's Menwith Hill facility in England revealed that peace protestors had broken into the installation and stolen part of this glossary, known as "the Dictionary." The documentary alleged that Menwith Hill -- a sprawling installation covering 560 acres and employing more than 1,200 people -- was ECHELON's nerve center.


Spyworld: Inside the Canadian and American Intelligence Establishments

By Mike Frost [NSA trained sigint person] and Michel Gratton


Nicky Hager, Secret Power: New Zealand's Role In the International Spy Network


Further reorganization of NSA INFOSEC activities: Two new groups were introduced. M Group, responsible for assess potential threats to and vulnerabilities of technologies and infrastructures such as telecom systems; W Group, deals with transnational threats.


27 February: A special report by Statewatch published detailed plans for a joint plan drawn up by the Council of the European Union and the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to introduce a global system for the surveillance of telecommunications.

4 September: A judge has lambasted British Telecom for revealing detailed information about top secret high capacity cables feeding phone and other messages to and from a Yorkshire monitoring base. BT admitted this week that they have connected three digital optical fibre cables - capable of carrying more than 100,000 telephone calls at once - to the American intelligence base

at Menwith Hill, near Harrogate.

Media all over the world start covering ECHELON.


European Parliament, STOA report, Assessment of the Technologies of Political Control:


World Information Org starts collecting the fragmented data about ECHELON.


ECHELON is covered in gobal news channels and investigated by civil liberty groups as well as government councils throughout Europe.

browse Report:
-3   ECHELON Facts
-2   ECHELON Introduction
-1   ECHELON UKUSA Alliance
0   ECHELON Timeline
+1   ECHELON UKUSA Signals Intelligence Agreement Partners
+2   ECHELON Other involved countries
+3   ECHELON Interception Targets