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Lost in the Open


Sometimes NSA analysts need to make "cover" phone calls, without leaking the fact that they're being made from the NSA. In 2005, the NSA owned 40,000 telephone numbers from area codes that were publicly connected to the agency. But for situations in which an analyst needs to make a public phone call without leaking their NSA affiliation, the Special Operations Support office has some options: "Anonymous telephones" are lines that physically connect to the NSA, but they are registered to "DoD," and only "examination of vendor-billing records will disclose affiliation with a physical NSA location." "Cover telephones" are registered using alias names and P.O. boxes, and do a more thorough job at hiding NSA affiliation.


Feb 14, 2005


Feb 05, 2018

Page 1 from Lost in the Open
DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL (U) Lost in the Open FROM: Special Operational Support (S3092) Run Date: 02/14/2005 Need to hide you NSA affiliation when making a call? Let your fingers do the walking -- without "fingerprints" (C) (U//FOUO) NSA is known throughout the world. "They" know where we work, the addresses of our buildings and even our telephone numbers. So, how do we get lost in the open and perform missions using non-secure communications? (U//FOUO) Background: NSA owns a large non-secure telephone central office or C.O. This C.O. provides dial tone and features to your non-secure telephone. NSA owns forty thousand telephone numbers. Many are very well known. 301-688 is probably the most "famous" NSA area-office code set. But, we also have 443-479, 240-373 and 410-854 numbers. These areaoffice code sets are also becoming "famous." Making customer, vendor, and limited personal calls from those NSA lines is not a problem, provided the calls are unclassified and you're not trying to hide that you're calling from NSA. (C) What do you do, though, if you have a mission requirement to hide or at least limit NSA affiliation or to call overseas? Special Operational Support (S3092) can help establish anonymity or cover telephones and assist getting International Direct Distance Dialing (IDDD) access. Can't decide which mechanism you need? Here are some guidelines to follow. Anonymity telephones limit access to NSA affiliation. Anonymity telephone lines are physically delivered to NSA from a vendor without using the NSA C.O. They have telephone numbers that are not "openly" affiliated with NSA. Caller I.D. for anonymity telephones typically shows the telephone number and either DoD or nothing at all for the name. Bills are usually sent to boxes owned by "DoD". Only examination of vendor-billing records will disclose affiliation with a physical NSA location. Anonymity telephones are to be used only for official government business that was coordinated with S3092. Cover telephones hide NSA affiliation. Cover telephones are more complex. The telephone numbers are procured from various vendors using alias names and post office addresses. Caller I.D. reflects telephone number and alias name. Although cover telephones utilize the NSA C.O. they have no physical delivery address from a vendor and there is no "open" association with NSA. Due to the sensitive nature of cover telephones it is imperative that it is safeguarded to ensure access is limited to the personnel performing official government business / functions associated with the cover support plan established by S3092. IDDD -- Policy states that NSA affiliates may use only cryptographically secure communications systems (e.g., STU III, STE, secure facsimiles, NSTS, etc.) when making calls to overseas locations. Anonymity and cover telephones do not fall under this policy for various reasons. S3092 is working with Security, the Groundbreaker PMO and Eagle Alliance to streamline the process for obtaining IDDD access for standard NSA telephones. For those that have an operational or administrative need to call overseas and NSA affiliation is not adversely affected, permission may be granted. (C) S3092 provides training on the proper use of anonymity and cover telephone lines. We will uniquely identify those telephones with a sticker similar to what is now present on the handset. (U//FOUO) If you need assistance or have questions concerning installation, billing, and support or maintenance procedures with any of the above mechanisms, please contact S3092 ).
Page 2 from Lost in the Open
"(U//FOUO) SIDtoday articles may not be republished or reposted outside NSANet without the consent of S0121 (DL sid_comms)." DYNAMIC PAGE -- HIGHEST POSSIBLE CLASSIFICATION IS TOP SECRET // SI / TK // REL TO USA AUS CAN GBR NZL DERIVED FROM: NSA/CSSM 1-52, DATED 08 JAN 2007 DECLASSIFY ON: 20320108